Top Defender for Texas A&M Football Racking Up Distinctions
It’s no secret that the defense has been the best unit for this Texas A&M football team. They continue to improve week by week, with all the talent on that side of the ball really beginning to blossom. The defensive line is what most of us think of here, with all those five stars, but one of the best storylines for the Aggies this year has been Edgerrin Cooper really coming into his own.
Cooper was a big signing for the Aggies back in early 2020. He had originally been committed to Oklahoma despite being from Louisiana, but had decommitted leading up to his participation in the Army All-American bowl, and during that presentation he ended up committing to Texas A&M football. An athletic and rangy linebacker was exactly what the Aggies needed, and though Cooper mostly saw special teams work in his initial season, he got on the field pretty regularly in his sophomore season and hasn’t looked back. He’s flashed a lot—I think specifically of a huge hit in that game against Auburn in 2021—but hasn’t quite been as consistent as you would like given his physical gifts.
That has all changed this season. Cooper has been an absolute force in 2023, and even more so in the last few games. I don’t doubt that the transition from Santucci to Durkin as his position coach has a lot to do with that, but it just feels like Cooper is finally in a position on this Texas A&M football team to capitalize on his ability. Just take a look at these numbers:
- 45 tackles (23 solo)
- 13.5 TFls
- 6 sacks
- 1 forced fumble
Those would be solid season-long numbers, and we still have at least five games to go. Pundits and writers around the country are beginning to take notice of the all-American level that he’s playing at. Edge was named the East-West Shrine Bowl Texas Star of the Week this week, despite the fact that he left the game at halftime. Bill Connelly of ESPN ranked Coop as the second-best defensive player in the country behind Alabama’s Dallas Turner through half of the season. Connelly mentioned that only two players in the last four seasons have notched 25 TFLs, and Edge could reach that distinction this year.
The upshot is this: Edgerrin Cooper should be an all-American. Provided he is able to continue his high-level play—and outside of an injury sustained in the last game that hopefully is very short-term, there’s no reason to believe he can’t—there’s not a linebacker in the country playing better than he is. If he keeps this up, he could play his way into day one of the NFL draft.