5 Transfer Portal Landing Spots for Marquez Cooper: San Diego State, Rutgers Have a Need for the Ball State RB

    A three-time All-MAC selection is on the market with Ball State RB Marquez Cooper in the transfer portal. Where are the best landing spots for him?

    One of the top running backs in the MAC is on the market, with Ball State Cardinals running back Marquez Cooper announcing on Friday morning that he has entered the transfer portal. He is the fourth running back from the program to enter the portal, along with Rico Barfield, Dwayne Moorehead, and Vaughn Pemperton.

    The 5’7″ speedster from Gaithersburg, Maryland, will take his talents to a new program. After lighting up the conference on two different teams, there will surely be a line for his services. Where are some potential landing spots for Cooper in 2024?

    Landing Spots for Marquez Cooper

    Cooper started his career at Kent State, playing for three seasons under head coach Sean Lewis. He was part of the 2020 COVID class, playing in all four of the Flashes’ games that season. As a true freshman, he led the team in rushing with 282 yards and five scores.

    He broke 1,000 yards for the first time the following season, rushing for 1,205 yards and 11 touchdowns, earning Second-Team All-MAC honors. Cooper upgraded to an All-MAC First Team selection after the 2022 season, rushing for 1,326 yards and 13 touchdowns, but the Flashes finished 5-7 and Lewis was let go. Cooper entered the transfer portal after that season.

    He stayed in the MAC and joined Ball State head coach Mike Neu’s team last season, breaking 1,000 yards for a third consecutive year with 1,043 yards and four touchdowns. He was named All-MAC Second Team again, but decided to enter his name into the portal ahead of spring practice.

    It’s late in the process, but Cooper’s resume speaks for itself, and he’ll no doubt have some choices materialize for him. Let’s look at some of the best landing spots from the transfer portal for the productive running back.

    San Diego State Aztecs

    Sean Lewis is the new head coach at San Diego State, and he brought with him a handful of coaches from when he was the head coach at Kent State (2018-2022) — Matt Johnson to be quarterbacks coach, Bill O’Boyle as OL coach and run game coordinator, and Zac Barton as special teams coordinator. All four were on staff with Cooper at Kent State.

    With his former coaches reunited in San Diego, it’s hard to imagine the Aztecs won’t make a play for Cooper. Lewis has 20 transfers coming in but no running backs so far. Seems like an easy choice here.

    Rutgers Scarlet Knights

    Collin Ferrell was the DL coach at Kent State, and he’s now at Rutgers in the same role. Ferrell coaches the opposite side of the ball than Cooper plays, but Ferrell was reported as Cooper’s primary recruiter at Kent State when the running back was coming out of high school.

    The Scarlet Knights had the fifth-best rushing offense in the Big Ten last season and are returning the conference’s leading rusher with Kyle Monangai. If he’s willing to split time to join a Power Five program, Rutgers would be a nice fit for Cooper.

    Kansas State Wildcats

    Cooper would have a connection here also, with former Kent State receivers coach Matthew Middleton (2018-2022) coaching the Wildcats receivers since last year. This would be another situation where he might have to split time to join a Power Five program, with leading rusher DJ Giddens set to return to the Wildcats next season.

    MORE: College Football Transfer Portal Tracker 

    Even so, smaller running backs like Cooper have thrived in Manhattan before, such as Deuce Vaughn, a 5’6″ jitterbug taken in the sixth round by the Dallas Cowboys in 2023. If Cooper wants to replicate Vaughn’s trajectory, Kansas State is the place to do it.

    Eastern Michigan Eagles

    Cooper has transferred within the MAC before going from Kent State to Ball State. If he has an affinity for the conference and wants to stay, his best bet would be teaming up with the Eagles.

    Eastern Michigan needs help running the ball after finishing 10th in the MAC in rushing last season with 112.1 yards per game. On top of that, Eagles running back Jaylon Jackson transferred to Iowa State, so there would be plenty of touches for him.

    Marshall Thundering Herd

    If he wanted to venture out of the MAC but remain among the Group of Five, the Marshall Thundering Herd could use his services and have proven to elevate running backs.

    Rasheen Ali has been the primary back for the Herd for the last four years, with 2,831 yards and 42 total touchdowns.

    KEEP READING: 2024 MAC Transfer Portal Rankings

    Now, with Ali heading to the pros, there are a lot of vacated carries in the Marshall backfield. Cooper could take advantage of that if he gets an offer here.

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

    College Football Transfer Portal Tracker

    Never miss a beat with the CFN-exclusive College Football Transfer Portal Tracker, listing the student-athletes entering and exiting the transfer portal.

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