Cody Green is reuniting with Khiry Cooper at Tulsa. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
The Tulsa World reports that former Nebraska wide receiver/outfielder Khiry Cooper is transferring to Tulsa. The two-sport athlete will graduate this spring, allowing him to transfer to Tulsa and play immediately as a graduate. NCAA rules allow a player to transfer after receiving their degree and play immediately as long as the player enrolls in a masters degree program that his previous school doesn't offer. It's the same rule that Wisconsin used to bring in Russell Wilson last season and Danny O'Brien this upcoming season.
I think some of us expected Cooper to pursue professional baseball this summer; he was a fifth round draft pick of the Los Angeles Angels in 2008 before deciding to enroll at Nebraska. His baseball career was uneventful, hitting .260 in 2011 as the starting center fielder. Head coach Darin Erstad said earlier this spring that Cooper had a lot of talent, but was hurt by trying to play both sports.
I have to think think that hurt him on the football field as well. He missed spring practice every season, which typically put him behind the rest of the squad. He did emerge as a starter in 2009 for four games as a redshirt freshman, but only played in six games in 2010. Last season, he played in nine games for the Husker football team and earned the start against Penn State, catching four passes for 60 yards. He suffered a foot injury in that game, which ended his football season. He announced in February that the injury was going to force him to miss the baseball season...and one month later, he announced he was going to skip spring football practice and concentrate on graduating.
Since Cooper redshirted in 2008, he still has one season of eligibility to play at Tulsa. His quarterback could once again be Cody Green, who is one of the two leading candidates to start for the Hurricane next season. Green starred in Saturday's spring game, completing eight of nine passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns. If it's not Green at Tulsa, it'll likely be redshirt sophomore Kalen Henderson. Henderson completed eight of fourteen passes for 68 yards and a touchdown in the spring game. That would seem to give Green the job, though Henderson outplayed Green in the previous scrimmage. Tulsa head coach Bill Blankenship plans to announce the starting quarterback later today.
It's easy to wish both players the best of luck at Tulsa; both players apparently left Nebraska on good terms. Cody Green spoke well of Nebraska when he left. It just wasn't working out, as he seemed to grow increasingly uncomfortable as a quarterback during his career. Whether the evolution of Nebraska's offense wasn't a fit with his skills, or he lost confidence, it was clear that he wasn't going to see much action as a quarterback in the future, barring injury to other quarterbacks.