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Building the Dam’s Top 20 for 2023 - #17) Ryan Cooper Jr.

Oregon State’s secondary took a huge step forward last season. Can they replicate it this year?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 24 USC at Oregon State Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s Day Four of Building the Dam’s countdown of the the top 20 players to watch for the 2023 Football season. With a lot of shakeups on the defensive side of the ball, the Beavers will need to rely on their veterans to help get all the new faces up to speed. Today we’re looking at another of those veterans.

#17) Ryan Cooper Jr.

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

One of the big questions headed into the 2022 football season was whether or not OSU’s secondary could make a big step forward. They definitely delivered, with returning backs Ryan Cooper Jr. and Kitan Oladapo being standouts.

Last season Cooper finished with 45 total tackles, 3 of them for a loss, and 1 sack. He also added 3 interceptions and 11 breakups. Cooper has proved he can contribute as both a pass defender and a pass rusher, the question this season is whether changes in OSU’s cornerbacks will put more pressure on the secondary as a whole.

If Cooper can step up his game even more in 2023, it would be a huge help while breaking in new corners. Last season Cooper was an All Pac-12 Honorable Mention, and he should get more attention this year. It could be a big year for Oregon State’s defensive backs..