Dantonio: Cooper in 'Stage 2' to remain with Spartans

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News
Demetrius Cooper (98) started 11 games for for the Spartans last season.

Chicago – Michigan State defensive end Demetrius Cooper is working his way back in the good graces of the Spartans football program and reporting for preseason camp next week is the next step.

Coach Mark Dantonio said at the Big Ten’s media days on Monday that the fifth-year senior is in “stage two” of working his way back after an incident last fall when he was accused of spitting on a code enforcement officer in East Lansing.

“We have four stages,” Dantonio explained. “Stage 1, prior to the summer session, he needed to do well in school and was allowed to work out individual. He got two four-points in both his classes and is a graduate of Michigan State University and he should be congratulated for that. Stage 2, which he’s in now, goes until he reports to camp next week. No problems, no issues and under Stage 3 he earns back his scholarship. If he’s able to do that maybe he can make it to Stage 4.

“Through it all he has been held accountable for his actions on and off the field and he’s supervised on and off the field.”

Cooper was charged with misdemeanor assault for the incident last fall but can have that reduced to littering if he abides by conditions set by the court. The Spartans are thin at defensive end and will need Cooper, who started 11 games in 2016 and had 23 tackles, including 2.5 sacks.

Dantonio also said on Monday that junior cornerback Tyson Smith has been cleared to play after the former Orchard Lake St. Mary’s standout said on Twitter this spring that he suffered a stroke. Smith made four starts last season and played in eight games, however he missed the final three games of the season for what the team called an undisclosed injury.

“Tyson is back on the roster and he’s been cleared to play,” Dantonio said. “We’ll work him into things gradually but he has been cleared to play and obviously he started for us before. He’s an experienced corner and has good a skill set. We look forward to seeing how he does but we’ll take it slow.”


Twitter: @mattcharboneau