Shaky Smithson put in a good word for Tyler Cooperwood. Now the rest is up to him.
Cooperwood will walk on with the Utes this fall after plying his trade during the offseason with Smithson and fellow Ute receivers Anthony Denham and Kaelin Clay in Long Beach, Calif.
He caught 26 passes for 372 yards last season at East Los Angeles College and has two years to play two.
Cooperwood first visited campus and met coaches alongside Smithson and Clay at Utah’s spring game. Smithson told coaches to keep an eye on him, and after later reviewing his tape, coaches asked him to attend a June camp in Long Beach.
He then impressed in receiver drills observed by wideouts coach Taylor Stubblefield, and the rest is ... to be determined.
He hopes to earn a scholarship by the end of fall camp but recognizes that’s no easy task. At 5’11, Cooperwood said he has some wheels and that the key to his game is running precise routes.
"There’s a lot of guys who are fast, but you have to be able to get open so the quarterback can throw you the ball," he told The Tribune by phone Wednesday. He said Stubblefield told him he may see time in the slot after having previously lined up on the outside.
Cooperwood said training with Smithson, Denham and Clay has drawn the four close. He’ll room with Clay — "one of the mot versatile players you’ll probably see in college football" — at the U., and considers Smithson his mentor.
"We’ve grown together, not only in working out and training session, but off the field, as well," he said.
He plans to study kinesiology at the U.
— Matthew Piper
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