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Breaking down Jacob Copeland's commitment to Florida

Jacob Copeland
Jacob Copeland (

Jacob Copeland’s decision to sign with Florida on Wednesday gave Dan Mullen’s first UF recruiting class an in-state star. It also gave the Gators a head-to-head victory over defending national champion Alabama. Below, takes a deeper look at what Copeland’s choice meant for Florida and how it hurts the schools that missed out.


Rivals250 wide receiver Jacob Copeland was a Florida commit once before but backed off that pledge during the Gators’ coaching change. In that way, Wednesday’s announcement was simply a return to the status quo. Copeland visited Tennessee, Alabama and Texas A&M down the stretch but his recruitment had the feel of a head-to-head battle between the Crimson Tide and the Gators. In the end, the allure of Home and the familiarity with UF was too much for even Nick Saban to overcome.


This is the kind of recruiting battle a new coaching staff needs to win. Holding off mighty Alabama for an elite prospect scores you points with your fan base and it’s never too early to start stockpiling those. Copeland’s skill set, of course, is the real prize. An explosive wide receiver, Copeland has added significant strength this year and has become a nightmare to jam at the line of scrimmage. His calling card will always be his speed, but North Florida star is becoming a more well-rounded prospect. He should contribute early in Gainesville.


Alabama has plenty of star power at wide receiver, but the Crimson Tide seemed to make Copeland a priority down the stretch. After all, you don’t bring players in for late January official visits if you don’t want their commitments. This has not been a banner year for Alabama recruiting and while most schools would kill for the Tide’s current class, missing on players like Copeland is less than ideal. Tennessee had hoped to get involved here. And while they did get the four-star prospect in for a visit, there was never much buzz about Copeland choosing the Vols, which stings because Jeremy Pruitt’s first class in Knoxville desperately needed that kind of bump.