"Coach Rocker (Auburn defensive line coach Tracy Rocker) came by the school today and I saw him," says Copeland, a 6-1, 254-pound junior. "I like him a lot. He is a hell of a guy. I like the way he coaches."
Copeland has spent time on the Auburn campus this spring getting to know Rocker, the former Auburn All-American, and other members of Coach Gene Chizik's new coaching staff.
Rocker was known as an intense player at Auburn where he won both the Outland Trophy and the Lombardi Award as the nation's top collegiate lineman. He also earned a reputation as a tough, physical lineman who believes in coaching with that style, which is the way Copeland says he is trying to play the game.
"It felt good to get back out there on the field at practice," Copeland says. "We had some butterflies and you have to knock them out."
On the football field, Copeland says he has high hopes for his team this fall and expects to contribute as a bigger and stronger player.
"I am working at getting off blocks and on my pass rush skills this spring," he says, noting that his improved strength should make a positive difference as a senior. "I am also trying to get better at every part of my game."
Playing at Troup County High, his speed is used outside at defensive end, the only position he plays.
Auburn's coaches see Copeland as an interior line prospect for college, he points out. "They are pretty interested in me right now," he says. "They like me as a nose or a tackle. They said they want me at 280."
He notes he didn't grow up with a favorite college. "I was not really a fan of a particular school," he says.
Copeland adds that he is up to 14 scholarship offers. "My latest one is from South Florida," he says.