As Jim McElwain tries to rebuild Florida football into a championship program, one of his mottos is “recruit daily or die.” Join us here on SEC Country for a daily recap of the latest UF recruiting news, tales from the trail and perspective on what it all means for the Gators.
Jacob Copeland left Pensacola, Fla., on Friday with a pair of leaders in his recruitment. He returned home Sunday still with two leaders, but not the same schools as when he started the weekend.
After visiting Florida (Friday), Clemson (Saturday) and Auburn (Sunday), the 4-star wide receiver from Escambia High eliminated one of those programs from consideration.
“My top 2, by the looks of it, are Auburn and Florida,” Copeland told SEC Country on Sunday.
A 6-foot-1, 195-pound wideout, Copeland named Clemson his top school in March after calling Florida and Clemson co-leaders for several months.
Florida pulled even Friday after impressing Copeland at the Orange & Blue Debut. But during his Saturday trip to Clemson for its spring game, the Tigers apparently ruined their chances.
“Clemson was high for me,” Copeland said. “But once I got there, I felt like I was a stranger to everybody. I didn’t feel too welcome around there.
“That isn’t a place that fits for me. It changed a lot up for me. I felt like Clemson could be one of the spots, but I guess not.”
Though Copeland narrowed his recruitment to two schools, he wants to wait until the 2018 Under Armour All-America Game to announce his decision. Copeland can see himself at either Auburn or Florida.
“When I show up at those campuses, I always feel love,” Copeland said. “I can do what I want … it feels like home to me. Those two places I feel really good at and know I could live there for three to four years.”
Copeland said Georgia, Miami, North Carolina and Tennessee could get into the mix. Florida’s Jim McElwain is recruiting Copeland harder than any coach.
“I was the first recruit he offered,” Copeland said. “That was my freshman year and he’s been recruiting me heavy ever since. He told me I’m his biggest priority. He actually showed me his board and I was the No. 1 receiver on it.
“Coach Mac told me he’s going to stay on my trail and I’m going to look good in orange and blue. I communicate with coach Mac every day and a lot of the staff. They treat me like I’m theirs, like I’m already a player there.”
Copeland is a top-10 wide receiver both in the nation and in Florida, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
Copeland liked what he saw from quarterback Feleipe Franks and wide receiver Antonio Callaway in the spring game on Friday. Franks had 119 passing yards in the first half and threw a touchdown to Callaway, who finished with 3 catches for 51 yards.
RELATED: Florida spring game report card
“I just wanted to check them out and see how everything was going to be with the offense,” Copeland said. “They threw the ball and made some big plays. Franks looked good out there. He’s growing up a little bit.
“Callaway, he hurdled over somebody on the sideline. I liked that. If Callaway leaves, they’re going to need somebody to step it up.”
One less commit
Jashon Watkins, a 2019 athlete from Nashville, Tenn., committed to the Florida coaches on Saturday. News of his decision was reported by several media outlets, including SEC Country.
However, Watkins backtracked on his pledge after returning home Sunday and told Rivals and 247Sports he doesn’t consider himself a Florida commit at this time.
The Gators now have five members in their 2019 class, which remains ranked No. 1 nationally according to 247Sports.
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