Part of a series detailing the merits of the players who signed letters of intent for the Dukes on signing day on February 5th, 2014. We’ll be going in alphabetical order (almost) each day, from Allen to Wittig. Let’s get to know the new class of Dukes!
Gaston Cooper is a versatile quarterback who will be coming to Duquesne from Paint Branch High School in Maryland. He was a statistical gem in many ways, leading his team in both passing and rushing yards. More impressive still are the 62 touchdowns that he had a hand in.
As with many of the recruits, Cooper joins the Dukes after getting a lot of interest from some larger outfits – notably Wake Forest and Old Dominion. He told the Washington Post that, as far as Duquesne was concerned, “it’s pretty much like home, so that was pretty much the final factor.” Certainly a feeling that many Duquesne alumni can second.
The highlight reel demonstrates a player with an accurate arm and a lot of speed. The first play is especially impressive, as he sheds tackles and shows a lot of agility on his way to the endzone. He has very good timing, and can hit a receiver in stride with both a floater as well as a quick and hard pass. When protection breaks down, he can move and break free from what at first look like sure sacks. It seems like he was entrusted with a lot of freedom to create. He doesn’t succumb to pressure.
Of course, with 62 touchdowns this year, that couldn’t have been an easy highlight reel to put together. One gets the feeling that plenty of great plays were left on the cutting room floor (or, these days, the computer’s recycle bin) while editing this.
If the Dukes are considering using Cooper at the quarterback position, it’s likely that he would redshirt this fall, move into a backup role, and that he would then be a contender for the starting job with two years of eligibility left once Buechel graduates. That’s looking a long way down the road, but such is life for the quarterbacks in this game.