Auburn's Cooper debuts vs. Alabama after receiving NCAA clearance
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Auburn freshman Sharife Cooper has been cleared by the NCAA, his father, Omar Cooper, told Jason Jordan of Sports Illustrated.

The guard was a five-star prospect in 2020 and one of the highest-ranked recruits in Auburn's history.

"Him going through this whole process has only made him stronger mentally," his father said.

He was immediately named to the starting lineup for his college debut Saturday against Alabama.

Cooper committed to the Tigers in September 2019 but has sat out the 2020-21 season to date while the NCAA conducted a review into his eligibility. Neither the school nor the NCAA ever divulged the issues surrounding his eligibility.

Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl revealed earlier this week that Cooper had only recently been permitted to practice with the team again after a lengthy layoff.

"He was actually held out of practice for 72 days," Pearl said Tuesday, according to Josh Vitale of the Montgomery Advertiser. "He did return to practice. He was able - they allowed him to return to practice last Monday, so he was able to practice with the team."

Cooper averaged 30.6 points, 7.8 assists, and 3.6 steals as a senior at McEachern High School in Georgia.

Auburn's Cooper debuts vs. Alabama after receiving NCAA clearance
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