- Alex Scarborough, SEC reporter
During the summer, TideNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Alabama roster -- excluding the Tide's 2013 recruiting class -- in our Crimson Countdown series. Starting with No. 1 Dee Hart, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 99 Brandon Ivory.
No. 9 Amari Cooper
Sophomore wide receiver
Expectations for 2013: You don't set rookie records held by the likes of Julio Jones and go backward. Such are the sky-high expectations for Cooper, who emerged as Alabama's go-to receiver in his first season on campus, pulling in a freshman-record 59 receptions for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. He did all that while starting just nine of 14 games. As a sophomore and the undisputed top receiver on campus, he'll start every game for the Tide in 2013.
Best-case scenario: If he can stay healthy, there's no limit to what Cooper can do. Because unlike many of the top receivers in college football, the secondary won't be able to double- and triple-team him without paying the price. Not with the deep crop of pass-catchers Alabama has this season that goes five- and six-deep with starting talent.
Worst-case scenario: There's a double-edged sword to that kind of depth, though, at least from a personal standpoint. Because Alabama has receivers like Kevin Norwood, DeAndrew White, Kenny Bell, Chris Black and Christion Jones all demanding the football, the number of single-receiver sets featuring Cooper this season won't be quite so numerous. His impact might not diminish as the ball gets spread around, but his stats may wane.
Future impact: Even Cooper acknowledges that his time at Alabama will likely be shortened by an early entry to the draft. But at least two more years of No. 9 lighting up defenses is guaranteed. When McCarron leaves, Cooper will be the new quarterback's best friend in 2014.
During the summer, TideNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Alabama roster -- excluding the Tide's 2013 recruiting class -- in our Crimson Countdown series.