Florida assistant Billy Gonzales excited to work with WR Jacob Copeland

Jacob Copeland-Florida wide receiver-Gators recruiting

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Florida WR coach on Jacob Copeland

Jacob Copeland’s recruitment came down to the wire last week.

The top-100 wide receiver from Escambia High School (Pensacola, Fla.) revealed his college choice on National Signing Day, selecting Florida over Alabama and Tennessee live on ESPN2. Copeland made his decision the morning of his announcement.

Gators wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales served as Copeland’s primary recruiter and first offered him in the spring of 2016 when he was an assistant at Mississippi State.

“The relationship that I have with him is fantastic right now,” Gonzales said of Copeland. “Coming up throughout the final days, he was fantastic all the way through the process, to be honest with you. Was I nervous? I think you’re nervous every day until the fax comes in or until he says he’s coming. But I felt pretty good about the young man. We’re excited to have him on board. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”

There’s also a lot to work with when it comes to Copeland, who is ranked the nation’s No. 12 wide receiver and No. 69 overall prospect in the 247Sports composite. He is expected to make an immediate impact and will be used in the vertical passing game, in the slot and in the backfield on direct snaps, jet sweeps and reverses.

“He’s a fantastic football player,” Gonzales said of Copeland. “I’m excited about all the players we’ve got coming in, but he’s a fantastic football player.”

Copeland said he knew wanted to play for Gonzales after their in-home visit on Dec. 29. Gonzales evaluated Copeland’s highlights that night and blew him away with his coaching acumen.

“Footwork wise, a lot of coaches don’t really look at that,” Copeland told SEC Country. “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.”

So what exactly did Gonzales say during his film breakdown to win over Copeland? Nothing that he doesn’t tell his wide receivers during meetings.

“I think more than anything it was just having the opportunity to show him that we really cared about him and being really detailed with him, little things about footwork,” Gonzales said. “The little details that we’re going to teach here … is a DB playing you in a tight coverage or what we call a soft shoe out? How is the DB back pedaling? You’ve got to be able to watch hips. Why did you watch hips this way versus this way?

“Honestly, it was no different than meeting with my players 1-on-1 on an individual basis. Being able to find out what [Copeland] did, why he did it and then have a chance to coach him through. I’d say, ‘This is what I thought you did, excellent. This is fantastic.’ Really just building a relationship and being honest with him.”

The post Florida assistant Billy Gonzales excited to work with WR Jacob Copeland appeared first on SEC Country.

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