EDMONTON, Alberta – Former Fort Hays State standout running back Shaquille Cooper signed a free agent contract with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League in March of 2018. After a solid showing in minicamp and preseason action to solidify a spot on the team, Cooper looks to be a dynamic piece for Edmonton when it opens the season this week – Thursday night (June 14) on ESPN2 against the Winnipeg Jets at 7:30 pm CT.
Cooper earned All-America honors as a running back at Fort Hays State, rushing for 2,768 yards in his three-year career that included the 2012, 2015, and 2016 seasons. He tied the school record for career yards per carry, matching the 6.1 yards per attempt rate posted by Terry Blassingame, who played in 1997 and 1998. Cooper rushed for at least 100 yards in a game 12 times at FHSU, only topped by Clint Bedore’s 13 from 1992-95. He had two games in which he ran for over 200 yards with his single-game best a 263-yard effort against Northeastern State in 2015. Cooper became the 13th player in FHSU history to reach the 1,000-yard rushing plateau in a season, rushing for 1,441 yards in 2015 – the third most in a single season at FHSU.
Cooper shined in the team’s first preseason game on May 27 against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, finishing with 118 all-purpose yards. He rushed for 36 yards, averaging nine yards per carry, which included an 11-yard touchdown run. He also caught three passes for 34 yards and returned four kicks/punts for 48 yards.
Cooper is one of the top two running backs listed on the depth chart for the Eskimos entering the season, joining CFL veteran C.J. Gable, a former standout running back at the University of Southern California from 2006-10.