South Carolina fans don’t have much to celebrate this Thanksgiving when it comes to football. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be thankful, though.
Gamecocks fans have seen a plethora of talent come through Williams-Brice Stadium over the years — Marcus Lattimore, Alshon Jeffery, Jadeveon Clowney, to name a few.
The latest South Carolina standout has shined during one of the darkest seasons, but we should still take a second to recognize him.
Junior wide receiver Pharoh Cooper does a little bit of everything for the Gamecocks, and that was evident a week ago as he almost single-handedly willed himself to a game-winning touchdown in the waning seconds before a penalty negated the score.
Cooper still finished the game with 11 receptions, which matched the program record for eighth-most in a single game, and amassed 191 receiving yards, which tied the program’s sixth-best mark in a single game.
On the season, Cooper has 887 receiving yards. Overall, his 1,019 yards of total offense accounts for more than a quarter of South Carolina’s offensive production. Cooper’s 48 points this season are more than 20 percent of the the team’s total scoring, too.
On a team that has undergone noticeable struggles on the offensive side of the ball, Cooper has been one of the few consistencies. Cooper ranks second in the SEC with 80.6 receiving yards per game and is fourth with 5.6 receptions per game. He’s recorded five 100-yard receiving performances, including a school record three in a row against Missouri, LSU and Vanderbilt, and has nine total during his career.
Despite what happens in the finale against Clemson on Saturday, Cooper will join the elite company of Sidney Rice, Sterling Sharpe and Kenny McKinley as Gamecocks receivers with two of the top-10 single-season receiving totals in program history. Cooper’s 2014 season (1,136 yards) ranks third all-time behind Jeffery and Rice, and his 2015 campaign — as it stands now — ranks ninth.
In a season of disappointment and a lot of uncertainty, Cooper has been the constant source of optimism. Whether it will be the receiver’s final season in Columbia, S.C. remains to be seen, but his contributions over the past few years are certainly something to be grateful for.