Members of the Michigan State Spartans football team are set to report to fall camp on Sunday, and Demetrius Cooper, a fifth-year senior defensive end, will be amongst those participating.
Cooper has spent most of the offseason suspended after spitting on an East Lansing Parking and Code Enforcement officer. He was charged with a misdemeanor, but took a plea deal that reduced the charge to a littering fine (if he followed his bond conditions, which he allegedly violated).
Cooper is in the process of full reinstatement with the program. Head coach Mark Dantonio addressed Cooper’s situation on Monday at the Big Ten Media Days event in Chicago. He told reporters that Cooper is in “Stage Two” of a four-stage program.
“We have four stages. Stage One, prior to the summer session, he needed to do well in school and was allowed to work out individually. He got two four-points in both his classes and is a graduate of Michigan State University and he should be congratulated for that. Stage Two, which he’s in now, goes until he reports to camp next week. No problems, no issues and under Stage Three, he earns back his scholarship. If he’s able to do that maybe he can make it to Stage Four.”
Danonio also said that through each stage, Cooper has been “held accountable for his actions on and off the field,” and also that Cooper has been “supervised” throughout the process.
For a program that has lost so many players through attrition this offseason, this is good news for Spartans fans. The defense is depleted along the defensive line, and having Cooper’s experience and ability will help this young defensive front. It’s also helpful to the team overall, as seniors are not easily found. Dantonio said at his press conference today that the team only has nine seniors on scholarship.
However, I agree that the team must keep a close eye on Cooper, and must hold him accountable, as it has done with other players throughout the offseason. He cannot be the exception to the rule. Although, it seems like Cooper is on the right track and will soon make his way out of the doghouse.
Dantonio also said that junior cornerback, Tyson Smith, has been cleared to play and will participate in camp. Smith suffered a stroke last season, and Dantonio said they plan to “work him into things gradually.”
To see the full conversation on Cooper and other aspects of the program, check out the Detroit Free Press’ video at the beginning of this article.