Former Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin was one of Jacob Copeland’s favorite players growing up.
The 4-star wide receiver now has a chance to play for Harvin’s position coach in college, Billy Gonzales. He served as Florida’s receivers coach from 2005-09 and returned to the Gators in late November with new head coach Dan Mullen.
Copeland is the No. 1 target for Gonzales, who has been recruiting the top-100 overall recruit since the spring of 2016. Gonzales offered him when he was at Mississippi State, but Copeland said he didn’t have interest in the Bulldogs.
With Gonzalez now in Gainesville, he communicates regularly with the former Gators commit.
“Florida was already a top school for me,” Copeland said. “Now Coach Gonzales is there and we’re always wrapping it up. After he was hired, he hit me up and said it was meant for him to coach me.
“I’d love to play for him. He has put players in the league. Just knowing that he’s got a good background and coached Percy at Florida. He wants to use me at the same position.”
During their in-home visit in December, Gonzales pulled up Copeland’s highlights on his phone and started analyzing the receiver’s game with him. His evaluation blew Copeland away.
“‘You’re another Percy.’ That’s what he told me,” Copeland said. “Footwork wise, a lot of coaches don’t really look at that. So just knowing that he watched my footwork and the way I get around to make himself open, that made me lock him in real close.”
Though Copeland appreciates being compared to one of his favorite players, he’s not trying to be the next Harvin if he does go to Florida.
“It somewhat does,” Copeland said when asked if the comparison excites him. “When people tell me I could be another Percy, I tell them I don’t want to be another Percy. I want to be the first and only Jacob Copeland.”
Copeland is ranked the nation’s No. 9 wide receiver and No. 54 overall prospect in the 247Sports Composite. He visited Tennessee last month and will take trips to Texas A&M (Jan. 19), Alabama (Jan. 26) and Florida (Feb. 2) before making his decision on National Signing Day.
“This last month is going to be crazy. Schools are going to be coming by the house,” Copeland said. “When Coach Mullen took the job, I was one of his first calls. I wasn’t even committed to Florida and he wanted to talk to me ASAP. He’s going to come do an-home visit an in January.”