The 90 Illini #38: Shammond Cooper
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Tried something different tonight. I just spent the last four hours setting up the next eight posts. Saved them all as drafts in the folder there. All of the research is done, all of the lines on the 90 Illini posts are filled out, and now I just have to go through them all and write. It's 11:44 and my eyes are heavy but let's at least knock this one out.
38. Shammond Cooper
Uniform number: 40
Year in school: Redshirt Freshman (4 years to play 4; with the Covid rule, technically 5 to play 5)
Height: 6'-2" -- Weight: 220 lbs.
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri
High School: Trinity Catholic HS
Five best offers: Ohio State, Clemson, LSU, Notre Dame, Florida
Tom Cruise rating: 4 Cruises
2019 statistics: Played in 3 games and redshirted.
I should note, it's weird to fill all of these out at once. For some guys it's "offers were from Morgan State and Troy", and for others, like Shammond, it's "offers from basically everyone".
I'm not sure I need to do much background on Cooper. You probably know most of it. He was from Trinity Catholic, had offers from everyone, and his high school coach just so happens to be on our staff now. He picked Illinois at the Under Armour All American Bowl (see the photo above) and arrived on campus last summer.
And then he redshirted while fellow freshman linebacker Tarique Barnes played. Why the redshirt? Mostly size, I think. He arrived at 200 lbs. He's now up to 220 lbs and ready to play ball.
Each time I do one of these and I write the "technically 5 to play 5" thing above, I struggle to sort it out in my brain. Any freshman who redshirted last year can, if they want, play college football until 2024. And all incoming freshmen next fall, if they never redshirt, will play until 2024. So it's some scenario where Daniel Edwards and Shammond Cooper might be seniors on the same defense. Even though Shammond was in the 2019 class and Edwards the 2021 class.
Will Shammond still be here then? I hope not. I hope he's good enough to head off to the NFL before 2024. Technically you can declare for the draft after three years, and Shammond will be a redshirt freshman again next season, so.... he could technically leave for the draft after his freshman season.
I don't see that happening, though. If I had to guess I'd say that both Jake Hansen and Milo Eifler will take a shot at the NFL after this season (even though they could technically return for one more). So that leaves two spots in the lineup open in 2021. My guess at the 2021 starters: Khalan Tolson, Delano Ware, and Shammond Cooper.
And then Cooper can be the star linebacker in 2022. And maybe 2023. But not 2024 because he'll leave for the draft before then. Hopefully.