David redshirted last season and watched as Cooper finished his Cowboy career ranked in the top 10 in school history in both catches (fifth, 161) and receiving yards (eighth, 1,695) before latching on with the Cleveland Browns' practice squad.
Now, it's David's turn to — finally — see the field.
David missed the tail end of spring football, all of fall camp and the Cowboys' first two games because of nagging ankle and hamstring injuries. Cooper reminded David not to get discouraged, because he was hobbled by four injuries during his first two years of college football.
Cooper sees David being a successful inside receiver because he possesses strong route-running ability, solid hands and good speed. But where coaches believe he'll make the most impact this season is on punt returns. Last week, against Louisiana-Lafayette, he returned five punts for 19 yards in his first collegiate action.
“He gets under every ball, catches everything,” said OSU wide receivers coach Kasey Dunn, who also coaches punt and kick returners. “And he'll make that first guy miss. It's hard to see that little joker back there, too.”
And Cooper and David still check in with each other frequently. David shot Cooper a text message in August to see how training camp was going. Cooper did the same last week when he found out David would be playing against Louisiana-Lafayette, reminding him that college players would fly down the field after a punt returner much faster than high schoolers. They might even get to catch up in person next week, as Cooper is considering coming back to Stillwater for the OSU-Texas game.
David is thankful for the hometown mentor and friend he has in Cooper. And Cooper believes David has a great chance to carry on the Mustang tradition and make his own impact at OSU.
“He has potential to be a great receiver, great returner,” Cooper said. “As much as I could teach him (when we were teammates), I'd do anything I could to help him out.”