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Friday, August 16, 2013
The SEC's best 25 players: No. 7

By Edward Aschoff

The next player on our list of the SEC's best 25 players finished the 2012 season as arguably the SEC's best wide receiver.

No. 7: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama, So.

2012 summary: The Freshman All-SEC member started the final nine of the 14 games he played in last season, and led Alabama with 59 receptions for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. His 11 touchdowns broke the 62-year-old record of Al Lary (10 in 1950) and Cooper broke Julio Jones' freshman records for catches and receiving yards (58/924). Cooper averaged 16.9 yards per catch and had five 100-yard receiving games.

Most recent ranking: Ranked No. 20 in the 2012 postseason countdown.

Making the case for Cooper: The funny thing is that Cooper wasn't even supposed to be the Crimson Tide's best freshman receiver last season, but Chris Black's injury opened the door for him. As the season went on, Cooper only improved, making life for opposing defensive backs miserable. He caught five touchdown passes in the final three games and totaled 528 yards and 27 catches in the final five games. Cooper looked like a seasoned vet by the end of the season, and might have also looked like the nation's best player at his position. He isn't afraid to get physical with defensive backs, and has the track speed to burn guys deep. Just look what he did during his eight-catch, 128-yard outing against Georgia in the SEC championship game last December. Cooper really is the most complete receiver in the SEC, and the new additions to the passing game shouldn't hinder his production this fall. The scary thing is that Cooper is bigger, stronger and apparently more explosive than he was last season.

The rundown