Washington State Cougars quarterback commit Cammon Cooper, rated four stars by both Scout and Rivals, put the cherry on top of his Elite 11 selection by participating last weekend in Nike’s “The Opening,” which annually is the premier collection of high school football talent in the country.
The weekend — which started last Thursday and ran until Monday, and took place at Nike’s headquarters in Oregon — is filled with a plethora of high-end experiences for the players, ranging from on-the-field instruction from coaches to off-the-field instruction in the film room and about life.
The main event, though, is the 7-on-7 competition, in which the Elite 11 QBs really get to show their stuff while throwing to the best receivers against the best DBs the country has to offer. Alas, Cooper didn’t get to do a whole lot of that, as he was paired up on Team Mach Speed with five-star prospect Justin Fields, who would go on to be named the Elite 11 MVP. (Elite 11 director of scouting Joey Roberts said Fields received his highest grade in the seven years he’s been doing it.)
In fact, according to 247 Sports, Cooper got just 13 drives in the 7-on-7 competition, and didn’t fare all that well: “(He) struggled getting his team into the end zone, only throwing one touchdown. ... Cooper was also picked off three times while completing 65 percent of his passes.”
That’s not to say Cooper didn’t do some nice things; here are some of the better throws from the weekend:
Working side-by-side with 5-star QB Justin Fields, I've liked the way Wazzu QB commit Cammon Cooper has looked. Ball placement is excellent. pic.twitter.com/mrz23QHi3S— Billy Embody (@BillyEmbody) June 30, 2017
None of Cooper’s drives at the helm of Mach Speed came in the semifinals, as Fields went the distance, but Cooper did get a few token drives at the end of the championship when the game was well in hand, with Mach Speed cruising to the title. If you want to check it out, you can do so here by fast forwarding until there’s about 19:30 remaining. After one aggressive throw that’s nearly picked off, you’ll see lots of conservative throws — and even a handoff — but as a bonus, you’ll get to hear Roberts say some really nice things about Cooper.
“I’m so excited about Camm Cooper,” Roberts said. “The first word that comes to mind when it comes to Camm is a passer. He really understands the nuances of the passing game — the second level stuff, the intermediate stuff — he sees things come open, he anticipates windows. The ceiling is massively high for Camm Cooper, especially going to Washington State.”
Pac-12 network analyst Yogi Roth, who has been there throughout the Elite 11 process, said: “I think he’s an absolute star. He’s the top recruit in Mike Leach’s era. ... You look at that offense, how they are down the field, the vertical passing game, and then you watch him on film, what he can do with his legs — I think Camm Cooper is going to be a star there, has the ability to play really early.”
USA Today’s Paul Meyerberg had this to say:
Cooper’s delivery — not to mention his southpaw throwing style — made onlookers immediately think of Kellen Moore, the winningest quarterback in college football history.
But he’s more than just a pocket passer: Cooper has the athleticism to potentially widen Mike Leach’s playbook at Washington State. In addition to his strong arm, Cooper has the legs to “add another dimension” to Washington State’s attack, Roth said.
It’s important to remember that for the participants, the weekend is about so much more than what we see:
The Players' Lounge.— The Opening (@TheOpening) July 1, 2017
Top of the line, only. pic.twitter.com/luDGINL10u
Which is why, after not playing as well as he would have liked, Cooper is going to walk away with positive feelings about the experience.