ORLANDO- Sunday was the first day of practice for the Under Armour All-American game and several Florida Gators targets and commits had big days.
Receiver Jacob Copeland (6-0, 192, Pensacola, FL. Escambia) was one of those guys who had a good practice as he noticed the competition was out there on the field for him to compete against.
“You know, good competition,” Copeland said on his first day of practice. “I’m glad to see all the top recruits in the country out here competing today. We came out here to work and get ready for January 4th.”
Copeland wasn’t shy about wanting to catch passes from Florida quarterback signee Emory Jones and the two connected several times on Sunday.
“Connecting with Emory, it was good,” he said on his connection with Emory Jones. “He threw a good couple of passes to open me up. It was just good looking at him set it up for me.”
When Jones wasn’t throwing passes to Copeland, the quarterback was talking up the Gators to the receiver.
“You know Emory, man. We met up yesterday and he was like, “You already know, man,” Copeland said on Emory Jones message to him. “Make that move. Coach Mullen’s telling me I can’t come back to Florida without you.”
The Gators are still high up there for the former receiver commit as Copeland has three visits planned before signing day.
“My upcoming visits are Texas A&M, Alabama and Florida,” Copeland said on visits coming up. “They’re going to be back to back with Florida getting the last one.”
Copeland explained why the Gators will receive the last official visit from him in February.
“They’re the last one because really Mullen wanted to set up that last visit for me,” he said on why Florida gets the last official visit. “So I told him that would be good and he set it up to make that last visit for me.”
On Friday, Mullen and Copeland had a lengthy phone conversation where the Gators head coach explained how he wants to use the receiver in the Florida offense.
“He wants me to play as H-back as a slot receiver,” Copeland said on what Mullen is telling him. “He’s telling me, just two days ago before I came out here, Mullen told me he really don’t want to offer nobody else in that spot, because he’s locked in on me. So he’s waiting on me to make my move. He just told me to come in and work and the position’s mine.”
Receivers coach Billy Gonzales has also been talking to Copeland a lot and the receiver knows a lot about the coach’s history.
“Coach Gonzalez, he’s got a good background knowing you’ve gotta live on that before going to a school or knowing who your coach will be,” he said on Billy Gonzales. “Your receivers coach, what your background’s like, how he coaches, how he teaches. Just knowing that he’s got a good background with all those receivers and all that. He put those boys in the league. Just knowing that he’s going to be with me all the way through the process or whatever. Even if I don’t go to Florida, he’s going to coach me up, teach me the right way and techniques to master my craft.”
INSIDERS TAKE: Florida is still in good shape for the receiver after he decomitted following Jim McElwain leaving the Gators. Copeland is also looking hard at Tennessee right now and they should be considered the Gators biggest threat.