FSU football: Reaction to Robert Cooper returning for 2022 season

FSU football lost Jermaine Johnson and Keir Thomas from the defensive line after the 2021 season.

There’s a chance they could have lost All-ACC Honorable Mention defensive tackle Robert Cooper, who could have declared for the 2022 NFL Draft.

Cooper had a strong 2021 season, appearing in all 12 games and finishing ninth on the team with 39 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, three QB hurries, and half of a sack.

However, the Noles received great news Thursday night when Cooper announced he plans to return for the 2022 season.

Cooper is taking advantage of the 2020 COVID year that didn’t count against his NCAA eligibility. The former No. 117 overall player in 2018 recruiting has only failed to appear in two games in his four years in Tallahassee.

Cooper came to Tallahassee needing to lose a large amount of weight and improve his conditioning. He’s probably lost around 50 pounds and had trouble staying on the field early in his career because of those issues.

However, Cooper has improved every year and been a stalwart in the trenches, providing production, experience, and depth. Those aspects will prove invaluable in 2022 as they will help stabilize a defensive line losing two impact edge players.

It’ll also allow young players like Joshua Farmer and Shambre Jackson to continue developing without having to play large snap counts before they are ready.

The same goes for the 2022 defensive tackle commits. Robert Cooper is an original commit of Jimbo Fisher dating back to June 2016. Cooper’s return also signifies belief in the vision of Mike Norvell and the coaching staff when players are heading to the transfer portal left and right.

I thought Cooper was close to maxing out his ability, but maybe he can benefit from one more year of getting into better shape and possibly gaining some quickness and explosion off the ball. If Fabien Lovett decides to return, the FSU football defensive line will be in great hands next year.