On an up-and-down National Signing Day that saw the Florida Gators land some of their top targets and miss on others, they received a needed spark late Wednesday when four-star wide receiver Jacob Copeland committed to the program.
Copeland, the 12th-ranked wide receiver and 69th overall prospect in the 2018 class out of Pensacola, chose the Gators over fellow SEC schools Alabama and Tennessee.
It was a move he wanted to make, and one that seemingly upset his mother.
When Copeland made his announcement on the ESPN2 broadcast and put on the Florida hat, his mom — who was sitting to his right wearing an Alabama sweatshirt and Tennessee cap — stood up and walked away visibly upset.
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“I can’t go with my mom,” Copeland said on his interview with ESPN. “I want to go with my heart.”
Copeland, who decommitted from the Gators after coach Jim McElwain was fired, mentioned Tuesday night on Twitter how tough the recruiting process has been as of late.
“Throughout this entire recruiting process [I’ve] never been as stressed as I am now,” Copeland wrote. “I cried and cried all last night about God leading me in the right directions. Now I don’t have over much as a day to decide on a school that’ll change my future after football.”
Mom came back a few minutes later and gave her son a hug.
Copeland is Florida’s highest-ranked signee in this cycle and is now one of four top-100 prospects to sign with the Gators this recruiting cycle, joining four-star wide receiver Justin Watkins (No. 89 overall), four-star offensive lineman Richard Gouraige (No. 81) and early enrollee four-star quarterback Emory Jones (No. 85).