Tennessee is looking to recapture its glory from the 1990s. Join us daily at SEC Country for the latest Tennessee recruiting news and notes on the next crop of Volunteers. Check out previous editions here. In this edition, we discuss Tennessee’s pursuit of Jacob Copeland and where things stand right now.
Why Tennessee is near top
Jacob Copeland is one of the best wide receiver prospects in the Class of 2018. He has the ability to add more explosive plays to whichever offense he joins next season. He’s highly sought after, and will likely choose between Alabama, Florida and Tennessee.
The Vols were not in the picture until coach Jeremy Pruitt was hired. Pruitt had been recruiting Copeland since he was in ninth grade.
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Pruitt has a better relationship with Copeland than any other coach in college football. This is why Tennessee has shot up the list for the Pensacola, Fla., native. They talk almost every day and the conversations go much deeper than just football. Copeland said Pruitt is in some ways a father figure because of what they talk about.
Copeland spoke with reporters at the Under Armour All-America Game about just how much Pruitt has swung his recruitment.
“It’s a good chance I could have ended up at Alabama because of Pruitt,” Copeland said. “Knowing that he’s gone, it’s in the mix for me now. I’m going to wait it out until Signing Day [in February].”
Pruitt has already proven to be a great recruiter. Closing the deal with a prospect such as Copeland is the next step for Pruitt.
Tennessee also offers more potential playing time than the other schools pursuing Copeland. The Vols didn’t have many big plays from the wide receiver position last season. Copeland would give the offense an element it has lacked. This is one of the biggest draws to Rocky Top.
“Just knowing that I can go out there and be a playmaker and be myself,” Copeland said. “I can make my own legacy and not be behind anyone else. I can go in there and make a real impact and be a true freshman All-American.
“Get the ball in my hands quick and fast. So, I can do work, and I usually do.”
Copeland will wait until National Signing Day to decide. He’s going to take his time and make sure he’s comfortable with the coaching staffs.
“What school fits best with me academic-wise,” Copeland said. “And how the coaches’ mindsets are when they talk to me. Make sure the coaches look me in the eyes.”
What the other schools have to offer
Copeland has a tremendous amount of respect for Alabama coach Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide have been one of the premier programs in college football the past decade.
The Tide have put plenty of players in the NFL in the past few years. The Alabama sales pitch is appealing to any top prospect.
Florida signed quarterback Emory Jones during the early signing period, which really helps the Gators. Copeland and Jones have a strong bond and have been friends for a while.
Copeland is interested in who his quarterback will be while he’s in college. He knows what Jones brings to the table. It also helps that Copeland was a Florida commit, so he’s comfortable with the campus and the current players.
Tennessee picking up Crystal Balls for outside backer
JJ Peterson is one of the best outside linebacker prospects in the country. Much like Copeland, he had almost no interest in Tennessee before the Pruitt hire.
He said the Vols are now leading over Alabama because of Pruitt.
Tennessee picked up five Crystal Ball projections on Monday, predicting Peterson to choose the Vols. Tennessee is trending in the right direction for a linebacker who could start early in his freshman season.
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