Publisher's Notes: Every weekday until the LSU football team reports for Fall Camp on Sunday, Aug. 4, TSD will unveil another player in our top 50 Tigers for the 2013 season. We arrived at this list by combining individual rankings from TSD's Austin Cooper, Ben Love and Hunter Paniagua. For example, a player who received a No. 1 vote got 50 points, a No. 2 vote got 49 points, and so on. Every player who received votes had his points totaled across all three individual lists, and the result was our final TSD ranking. All players, including incoming signees, were eligible for selection.
No. 7 – FB J.C. Copeland
Know the value of a good fullback? Les Miles and Cam Cameron, disciples of the late Bo Schembechler, certainly do. For three years now, Miles and his offense have relied on converted defensive tackle J.C. Copeland to lead the way through holes for a stable of talented backs, many of whom are now in the NFL. Copeland has even become a bigger part of the rushing game himself, scoring four times (third on the team) and gaining 67 yards on 21 carries in 2012 as a junior.
Now a senior, Copeland, who also caught three balls for 54 yards a season ago, has a chance to put it all together under Cameron, who seems anxious to get more creative with the run game. Copeland's biggest asset, at 6-foot-1 and 272 pounds, is his fearless wrecking-ball style as a run-blocker. But, considering how well he's done as a short-yardage weapon lately, look for the LaGrange, Ga., native to be an even bigger piece to the LSU offense in 2013.
By The Numbers
Copeland's highest ranking: 5th
Copeland's lowest ranking: 11th
Why this ranking is too high
He is a fullback, which will raise some eyebrows given how high this ranking is … and the fact that he falls ahead of flashier skill-position athletes like CB Jalen Mills (No. 9) and WR Odell Beckham (No. 10). Copeland has also proven a little too frequently that he has a hard time stopping at the whistle. His penchant for picking up personal fouls has bitten LSU in critical times, too.
Why this ranking is too low
There honestly may not have been a more important cog to the last two years of the Tigers' offense than Copeland. Time in and time out (he rarely gets and never stays injured), Copeland battered opposing defensive linemen, linebackers and any defensive backs dumb enough to get in his way. The fact that he can be involved in carrying the pigskin now is just icing on the cake. In so many ways, Copeland makes this run-first LSU offense go.
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No. 7 - J.C. Copeland
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