Texas A&M’s 2023 season will likely only be remembered by many due to the firing of head coach Jimbo Fisher. However, that’s pretty unfair considering the play of the Aggies’ defense, specifically the season junior linebacker Edgerrin Cooper has put together in 2023.
Within his best statistical season yet, Cooper has recorded a team-high 75 tackles, seven sacks, and two forced fumbles, tied for the second most sacks in the SEC at the linebacker position behind Mississippi State LB Nathanial Watson (10 sacks).
Cooper’s impact on the Aggies’ defense isn’t based on stats alone, as the junior’s leadership and consistent toughness in tight moments have been a catalyst all season long. At the same time, the A&M’s talented defensive line has contributed to 40 sacks, second most in the country behind Penn State.
So, with all the stats and impact variables I’ve described, Edgerrin Cooper should be at least a finalist for the Butkus Award, annually given to the top-performing linebacker in the nation.
Well, according to various sports writers who vote, Cooper couldn’t even crack the final 5, as linebackers Ty’Ron Hopper (Missouri), Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (Clemson), Edefuan Ulofoshio (Washington), Nathaniel Watson (Mississippi State), and Payton Wilson, (NC State) round out the final list, as all are deserving, but Cooper has notably recorded 20 more tackles and four more sacks than Ty’Ron Hopper in SEC Play.
Finalists for Butkus Award, signifying nation’s top linebacker
Ty’Ron Hopper, Missouri
Jeremiah Trotter Jr., Clemson
Edefuan Ulofoshio, Washington
Nathaniel Watson, Mississippi State
Payton Wilson, NC State
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) November 21, 2023
Either way, this is likely Edgerrin Cooper’s final season in College Station with the 2024 NFL Draft in his future, and you can be sure that every Aggie will remember the impact this young man had during one of the more tumultuous Texas A&M Football campaigns.