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Veteran Florida State defensive lineman intends to return in 2022

This is big news for the Seminoles.

Now that Florida State's 2021 season is over, we're going to see some players on the roster elect to enter the NFL Draft or test the transfer portal waters. The Seminoles have already lost three players this week in offensive linemen Jalen Goss and Ira Henry and walk-on wide receiver Reggie Harden. 

The status of veteran defensive lineman Robert Cooper has been a topic of discussion over the last few weeks. It was thought that Cooper might potentially declare for the NFL Draft. Instead, he announced that he'd be returning to Tallahassee for a fifth season with a graphic on social media.

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"I am grateful for every opportunity that comes my way and blessed to have the experiences we have shared at Florida State. I have trained and prepared my whole life for this moment, and the expectation never changes. I was raised to give everything I have no matter what the situation is. That's my mindset and what and what drives my determination and the "want to" in my life."

"My time here is not done. They'll remember this one."

This is big news for Mike Norvell and his coaching staff. With grad-transfer defensive ends Jermaine Johnson and Keir Thomas exhausting their eligibility, it was imperative for Florida State to bring back experience on the defensive line. Cooper is one of the longest-standing members on the entire roster and he began to develop into a force during the second half of the season.

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The Georgia native recorded 39 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and 0.5 sacks as a redshirt junior in 2021. In his career, he's totaled 104 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and a fumble recovery. Cooper was terrific for Florida State in wins over Miami and Syracuse. A three-year starter, he will be a welcome presence on the defense in 2022.

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The next hope will be that fellow interior defensive lineman Fabien Lovett also decides to make a return to Florida State for another year. If so, the Seminoles will have a healthy Dennis Briggs, Jarrett Jackson, Malcolm Ray, and more behind them. 

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