When high school senior and highly touted wide receiver Jacob Copeland committed to play for Florida on national signing day, he likely never imagined that his mom would become the focus of the story. But that’s exactly what happened. Surrounded by friends and family at a high school pep rally yesterday in Pensacola, FL, Copeland put on a Gators hat to reveal he had chosen Florida over Tennessee or Alabama. The auditorium went nuts. Copeland’s mom, did not. Wearing an Alabama sweatshirt and Tennessee beanie, she immediately stood up, grabbed her purse, and walked right off camera (the announcement was being televised) and out of the gymnasium.
Copeland, a four-star recruit, is ranked as the nation’s fifth-best wide receiver and 40th best overall prospect. And despite being from Florida, many still expected him to join the Crimson Tide or Volunteers. Dan Mullen’s recruiting clearly paid off, however, as Copeland admitted that he just “felt more welcomed and at home” in Gainesville. “I can’t go with my mind, I wanted to go with my heart,” Copeland told ESPN U.
Jacob Copeland's mother — in an Alabama sweater and Tennessee hat — just got up and left after he announced he was going to Florida pic.twitter.com/tOZHnZeamv
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 7, 2018
He admitted it was a tough decision, and based on his mom’s reaction, it’s easy to see why he may have agonized over his pick. Although at this point, it’s not entirely clear which school she preferred ⏤ just which one she didn’t. Fortunately, the storm-out did not end up ruining Copeland’s big day, as he tweeted that he thought his mom’s outlandish antics were “hilarious” and implied that she was playing a part to drum up drama.
Throughout this entire recruiting process I never been as stressed as I am now. 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. 😔
— Glock Ali 🇭🇹 (@JCope1era) February 6, 2018
In a showing of goodwill, Copeland’s mom even came back and gave her son a big hug, showing that no matter what college he chooses to attend, she will always support him.