Coach Speak: Vayante Copeland

Count Thurgood Marshall head coach Earl White as one of Vayante Copeland's biggest fans. White talks about his star player who will head to Michigan State this summer.

The past few seasons have seen Dayton (Ohio) Thurgood Marshall become a program to be reckoned with as head coach Earl White built a solid foundation.

While White played a key role in building a solid base, he knew he needed leaders on and off the field for his program to help reach the level of success enjoyed more by schools in the suburbs.

He found a great one in future Michigan State Spartan defensive back Vayante Copeland.

"Vayante is just a very respectful type of guy," said White. "I always say about Vayante, he's cut the right way. He's respectful, hard working and does what you want him to do.

"It's one of those things when your best player is your best kid; you always think you have a chance to be successful. Especially when other kids see him setting such a great example on and off the field as he's a very stable minded guy, the kind of guy who leads by example."

One reason White feels so confident in Copeland's future success is the fact he's not the normal teenager who has seen a high level of success.

"I always say Vayante is not an alpha male," stressed White. "Sometimes you kind of have to push him forward as he's kind of reserved. He's a God gifted kid and a pleasure to be around."

While Copeland may be the silent type off the field, according to White, he's one of the more driven players he's ever been around and expects a solid future wearing the Green & White of Michigan State.

"Just his demeanor and level of focus and dedication have made Vayante a joy to coach," said the coach. "He wants to be a great football player. That is his goal in life as he wants to play on the big stage. He wants to be part of that, so he has directed all of his focus and attention to that goal.

"As for college, I don't think he'll have any problems or issues because he follows directions. He should be a very good player and I think he'd be better on the offensive side of the ball. However, he loves defense and that's what he does. He'll probably excel at whatever he does and hopefully, God has it in his will that he has no catastrophic injuries and can fulfill all his goals and dreams."

While Thurgood Marshall didn't reach the goals on the field this season, White knows he's coached a once in a lifetime player in Copeland.

"Vayante has been a legitimate all-state great player for us," said White. "He's a go-to guy who makes great plays. He's made some great plays over the years and I'm just happy to have had the chance to coach the kid."

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