The Clemson Insider gives a scouting report on every player on Clemson’s two-deep depth chart. We will break down what the player does best, what he needs to work on, how he compares to other former players at his position and where he fits on the Clemson roster.
Player name: Zerrick Cooper
Player position: Quarterback
Years left of eligibility: 4 years
Projected rank on depth chart: co-Second Team
Player productivity so far: Redshirt freshman. Cooper has not played in a game, but did complete 11-of-18 passes for 81 yards with one interception in the spring game this past April. He had a long of 24 yards and no touchdown passes. He also rushed for 26 yards on five carries with a long of 19 yards. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry.
What player does best: Cooper likes to throw from the pocket. He has the strongest arm on the roster. He can throw the deep ball and can make throws in small windows. Coaches have told us he can really spin the football like no one else. He is very comfortable in the pocket and has good pocket presence.
What player needs to work on: Cooper needs to improve on his accuracy, especially on deep balls. He has a tendency to overthrow receivers down field. Working on his mechanics will improve his accuracy on long passes.
Productivity of former Clemson players at the position (first year and last):
Deshaun Watson, 2014: 93-of-137 for 1,466 yards, 14 TDs, 2 INTs, 67.9 completion percentage, 183.3 yards per game and a 188.6 passing efficiency rating. Rushed for 200 yards on 63 carries, while averaging 3.2 yards per carry and scored 5 touchdowns.
Deshaun Watson, 2016: 388-of-579 for 4,593 yards, 41 TDs, 17 INTs, 67.0 completion percentage, 306.2 yards per game and a 151.14 passing efficiency rating. Rushed for 626 yards on 166 carries, while averaging 3.8 yards per carry and scoring 9 touchdowns.
Tajh Boyd, 2011: 298-of-499 for 3,828 yards, 33 TDs, 12 INTs, 59.7 completion percentage, 273.4 yards per game and a 141.2 passing efficiency rating. Rushed for 218 yards on 142 carries while averaging 1.5 yards per carry and scoring 5 touchdowns.
Tajh Boyd, 2013: 283-of-413 for 3,851 yards, 34 TDs, 11 INTs, 68.5 completion percentage, 296.2 yards per game and a 168.7 passing efficiency rating. Rushed for 400 yards on 164 carries, while averaging 2.6 yards per carry and scoring 10 touchdowns.
What you can hope for? Cooper comes out this summer and puts the pressure on Kelly Bryant for the starting job. He either wins the job or he pushes Bryant so hard, Bryant becomes the kind of quarterback the Tigers will need to get back to the College Football Playoff.
What is a realistic expectation? Cooper can compete for the starting job and it is very possible he can beat out Bryant and be the Tigers’ new quarterback. We can see a scenario where he does not start the season as the starter, but comes on in relief and then wins the job at that time.
What about the future? This will be interesting. If Cooper wins the job, then he obviously comes back next season as the man to beat out for the job. However, if he does not become the starter and with 5-star prospect Trevor Lawrence coming in, does he stay and compete next spring or does he take his talents somewhere else? It’s hard to imagine a player like Cooper spending his entire career as a backup.
—Photo credit: Dawson Powers