Khiry Cooper, arguably Nebraska’s top receiver in the 2008 football recruiting class, will have a major decision to make about his future after being picked in the fifth round of the baseball draft Thursday.

A standout center fielder, the speedster from Shreveport, La., was selected by the Los Angeles Angels as the 169th pick overall.

Husker football coach Bo Pelini said Cooper called the NU coaches to inform them of the news. Cooper indicated to coaches that he was still excited about the opportunity to play football for Nebraska.

“I’ll know more in the next couple days,” Pelini said.

Cooper’s baseball coach at Calvary Baptist Academy, Rodney Traweek, said the player told him Thursday night that he considers himself in a win-win situation, no matter what happens.

Cooper had previously indicated an interest in playing both football and baseball at NU.

“If we can work it out with the Angels, it’s a win. And if we don’t and he goes to Nebraska, it’s a win,” Traweek said. “He knows whatever happens, whether he’s going to be with Nebraska or with the Angels, he’s going into a really positive situation.”

The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Cooper hit better than .400 as a leadoff hitter as a senior, leading his team to its second straight state championship.

The Angels have been hot on Cooper for a while now, talking to him for about the past two months, Traweek said.

“He’s one of those who is as good as it gets on the field and off the field,” Traweek said. “He can hit the baseball. Great speed, great arm, and he knows the game.”

If he signed with the Angels, he’d likely do it for between $100,000 and $150,000. The Angels signed their fifth-round pick last year for $128,700.

“We haven’t talked about that yet,” Cooper told the Shreveport Times of contract discussions. “It just depends on the contract and how everything works out.”

Pro teams have until Aug. 15 to sign their picks or they go back into the draft pool, where Cooper could not be drafted again for three years.

It is plausible that a player could sign with a team and still play college football, but that situation would come with some obvious obstacles and would have to be ironed out by all parties involved.

Last year, Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon opted out of his football scholarship to play minor-league baseball during the summer with the Danville Braves, returning to the football team as the starter in the fall. Dixon was also a fifth-round selection, signing for about $150,000.

Cooper caught 60 passes for 1,037 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds and is regarded as a player with the potential to contribute to the Huskers early in his career.

He committed to Nebraska late in the recruiting process. Arkansas, Michigan, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Monroe and Tulsa were some of the other schools interested in him.  

“He’ll talk with the Angels’ organization and see if they can get things worked out as far as what the plan is for him money-wise and when they might expect to be in the big leagues,” Traweek said. “He’ll look at all of that for sure to see if he can get close to what he wants. And if he does, I’d say chase the dream and play major-league baseball. But if he doesn’t, he knows he has a really good thing waiting him in Nebraska, too.”

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