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November 27, 2013

Cooper talks Memphis commitment

When's the last time Memphis had a true power back? A power running back that was 220-lbs. plus. Anyone pop into your mind?

In 2002 Memphis recruited De'Angelo Williams who had some power but was cat quick and weighed just 185 coming out of high school. In 2007 the Tigers recruited Curtis Steele. He was quick plus deceptively strong, but he too was 185 coming into college.

From our memory you'd have to go back to the 90's when Marcus 'Doc' Holliday came to the University from Fairley High. Doc was 6-foot-0 225 lbs and the last true Tiger power back.

Why are we talking about power backs?

West Memphis (AR) Running back/Defensive Tackle/Defensive End/Linebacker Jarvis Cooper is the latest stud to commit to the Memphis Tigers.

Rivals.com lists him as a three-star defensive tackle but surprisingly enough, that's not what Memphis was recruiting him as.

"Memphis recruited me as a running back," he explained. "I can play both sides of the ball so I'm versatile enough to play wherever the coaching staff wants me."

The 6-foot-1 back said he's down to 240-lbs and is working this offseason to get down to 220-225 to improve on his 4.6 speed. His plan is simple.

"My goal is to have 4.4 speed by the time I get on campus."

At his current weight/speed he's comparable to former Alabama power back Eddie Lacy. Lacy ran a 4.59 while at Alabama's Pro Day back in April.

What was it about Memphis that made him choose to become a Tiger?

"It was the best fit for me," was his blunt reply. "They are a team on the rise and I wanted to be a part of that. You can tell what they are going to be with the way they have improved. With Ole Miss, Kansas and Tennessee (on the schedule) in a couple of years I wanted to be a part of it."

While being recruiting as a running back and being able to play both sides of the ball, Cooper said he doesn't have a preference on what position he plays. He trusts that the coaching staff will put him in a position where he can help out the team the most.

Playing time and the feel for the coaching staff were also an important part of his decision to commit to the Tigers.

Coach Shibest was his main recruiter and Cooper has the utmost respect for him.

"Coach Shibest is the coolest guy," Cooper informed us. "He's funny but is serious when he has to be. He was there since Day One for me."

The Tigers take on Temple this weekend and Cooper plans to be in attendance.

I asked Cooper what type of player Memphis is getting in him.

"Memphis is getting a power back," he said confidently. " Kind of like a Brandon Jacobs or an Eddie Lacy type back. Someone who will get you those 3-4 yards on 3rd and short but also a guy who can bust it in the open field."

The Tigers have some nice young running backs from last year's recruiting class (notably Marquis Warford and Tearris Wallace) but the competition doesn't scare Cooper. He knows he'd have to compete no matter what school he chose. In this day and age, the better college football teams stock up on both speedy backs as well as the power guys.

Memphis will not be bowling this year and only has 3 wins with 2 games to go but that hasn't affected him at all.

"Next year we'll have a better season than this year," Cooper promised. "Their record is what it is but you can tell they've played hard all season. Look what they did against Louisville and UCF. They almost pulled it off."

Now that he's committed recruiting won't stop for him. He'll go from being recruited to being the recruiter. He plans to talk to other top players about joining him at Memphis.


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