Amari Cooper never gives up

The story of Miami Northwestern wide receiver Amari Cooper isn't a new one, but it still speaks volumes about Cooper.

The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder missed much of his junior season with an injury and spent the spring and summer tearing up defensive backs on the camp circuit.
Cooper, who committed to Alabama last month, showed the same fire on the field as he led Miami-Dade County with 722 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

Unfortunately the latest recipient of the 2012 Under Armour All-America Game jersey during the 80-stop American Family Insurance Presents the Under Armour All-America Game selection tour won't have an opportunity to add on to his stats as Northwestern will miss the postseason for the first time in 19 years.

"It's disappointing because I wanted to help this program win another state title," Cooper said. "That was a goal that I didn't achieve and it's real frustrating to know that there are teams not as good as we are still playing."

Don't expect Cooper to stay down too long though, he's already training for the January game.

"I'm going to continue to work hard and prepare for the game because I want to show everyone I'm the best receiver in the nation," Cooper said. "I'm ready to compete."

Cooper was familiar with the game and chose it based on the level of players he will be competing against.

"The Under Armour Game is the best game out there," Cooper said. "The best coaches and players so I know we'll be getting good instruction and I'll be going up against guys that will eventually be All-Americans in college and probably first-round draft picks."

Some of the kids he went up against over the spring.

"I was part of the South Florida Express team in the spring and we went everywhere," Cooper said. "And a lot of the players down here I know, like Duke [Johnson] and I know Alabama has a few other commits in the game so I want to hang out with them."

Cooper took his official visit to Alabama two weeks ago when the Tide lost to LSU 9-6. He embraced the electric atmosphere that night and expects to be front and center for future showdowns.

"That night showed exactly why I picked Alabama," Cooper said. "They are one of the best programs and they are always going to be in the big games. It takes hard work to step on the field for that team and in that conference.

"I know there are big expectations for me at Alabama and it's going to be up to me to make it happen."

Expect Cooper to be up for the challenge.

Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at coreyespn@gmail.com.