Florida’s Cooper opts for the gridiron and not the diamond

Could Florida wide receiver Riley Cooper be catching passes again from quarterback Tim Tebow in the not-so-distant future?</p>

While his days as Tebow’s favorite target in Gainesville are over, and the likelihood of the two landing on the same pro team are slim, Cooper officially decided on Monday to remain on the football field rather than go back to the baseball diamond, announcing that he would bypass his baseball career to pursue one in the NFL.

“Football's definitely the route I want to take,” Cooper told the Associated Press. “Toward the last couple of weeks of the football season, I knew that's what I wanted to do. That's my makeup, my mentality. I'm just a football player, not a baseball player.”

Cooper, a Texas Rangers selection in the 25th round of the major league draft, said he has been told that he could be drafted anywhere between the second and fourth rounds, but added that he believes he has more speed than front office personnel may think.

“They've got me down as a 4.5 in my 40,” Cooper said. “The way I look at it is, all I can do is go up. I'm not a 4.5.”

A second-team All-SEC pick, Cooper led the Gators in 2009 with 961 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.

The 6-3, 214-pounder began preparations for the Senior Bowl on Monday along with Tebow, his former roommate at UF.

So how did Cooper think Tebow fared in his first practice?

“I thought he did really well,” Cooper said. “The passes to me were good except one when he got hit in the back. Other than that, I thought he did well. He did a good job under center. He looked crisp.”

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