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Cooper says winning Heisman would be a dream, made right choice coming to Alabama

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NEW YORK — Fresh off of his Biletnikoff Award win Thursday night, Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper made his first ever trip to New York with the Heisman Trophy in his sights.

Cooper spent his day seeing the sights with fellow finalist, Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon.

“It means the world to me,” Cooper said of being invited to New York as a Heisman finalist. “I worked really hard in the offseason — not particularly for the Heisman — but hard work pays off. I’m just getting everything that comes to me.”

With only one Heisman winner in school history, Alabama is not necessarily the most seductive landing spot for individual stars. When Cooper was choosing schools, he said most of the people around him disagreed with his school of choice, and told him to attend a school with a program that would boost his statistics.

But Cooper only cared about on thing.

“I wanted to be a winner,” Cooper said. “That was the most important thing to me. The people who disagreed with me were focused on my stats or what my stats would look like, and I was more focused on winning.

“I think I made a pretty good decision.”

With two SEC titles and a national title already won in his three-year collegiate career, it looks like Cooper’s decision was the right one. His decision was vindicated even more by the arrival of offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, who Cooper called an “offensive genius.” He saw the success Kiffin had with USC wide receivers Marqise Lee and Robert Woods, and was excited when he heard the news of his hiring.

Under Kiffin, Cooper has broken every meaningful school record, as well as some SEC records as well.

After his record-breaking season, Cooper already has the award for his position, but the Heisman is the one trophy left to determine.

“The Biletnikoff Award was something I had my eye set on since I was a senior in high school, since I knew what it was,” Cooper said. “I told myself I wanted to win it. It took three years so to actually see it happen, it’s a great feeling. It’s like a dream come true.

“The Heisman would be great. I would definitely be happy about taking that home.”

The 80th Annual Heisman Trophy airs on ESPN Saturday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. Central.

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