Sept. 22, 2012; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars defensive end Xavier Cooper (96) goes up against Colorado Buffaloes offensive lineman Stephane Nembot (77) during the first half at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Washington State Football 2012 Evals: DE Xavier Cooper

Stats: 34 Tackles (18 unassisted), 3 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble

What he accomplished in 2012: For a freshman campaign, Cooper had a pretty good season. He wasn’t specifically dynamic, but he was a big presence at times and showed glimpses of what the future could hold for Washington State. At times he did get worn down in the heat of the battle, as WSU coaches had to keep him on the field for long stretches, due to his legitimate size and the move of Travis Long to Buck. Cooper is nearly 300 lbs, as well as being 6’4″.

Again, he was able to make some plays, but really struggled to sustain the effort due to some tiresome work in the trenches.

What I expect in 2013: Xavier may shed 10 lbs or so to get a little quicker this season. Even if he doesn’t, I expect him to be more ready for the toils of being a DE in a 3-4 defense. He is a player that has a ton of potential and is expected to have a breakout year.

On top of being more prepared and stronger, he will have more help. With the coaching staff focusing on the defensive line in recruiting, they found at least 2 or 3 rotational pieces that will be in on a lot of plays. Imagine a fresh, 300 lb Cooper coming after a quarterback off the edge in the 3rd quarter, or stuffing the gap on a run. I can tell you that in my mind, that is a sight to behold.

I expect him to double his output in the backfield, where he put in 8.5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks. I also expect him to participate in at least 33% less plays, which will help everybody.

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