Practice Tour: Quinton Coples

KINSTON, N.C. --- Kinston head football coach Tony Edwards anticipates opponents will gear their game plans this fall away from his star defender, Quinton Coples.

  • Practice Tour: Quinton Coples Photo Gallery

    "He's the type of athlete that you can play him anywhere," said Edwards. "If you have to, play him at free safety. So we're going to move him around a lot. He'll play a 9-technique or he'll play a 3-technique or he'll play standup. We'll mostly use him on the strongside."

    Coples, a 6-foot-6 230-pound defensive end, is up for the challenge.

    "No matter if they run away from me or they come right to me, I'm going to get my tackles regardless," said Coples.

    Edwards agrees with the sentiment: "Quinton is a playmaker. He just changes the game."

    This season, Coples' playmaking ability will expand to offense.

    "Last year, we used him as a one-dimensional type and experimented a little bit on the offensive side," said Edwards. "But this year, we plan for him to be a playmaker on both sides of the football."

    Coples will start at tight end, where he'll be counted on to handle some blocking, but will also be an important part of Kinston's passing attack.

    "He showed in the passing leagues this summer that he can catch," said Edwards. "He's got soft hands and he's athletic enough that he can out-jump anybody. There aren't too many linebackers or corners out there that can cover 6-7 guys that can run down the field. Plus, his overall strength and his ability to block will be used."

    With Coples starring on both sides of the ball, the preseason expectations are as high as ever at Kinston.

    "We've got a lot of talent and a better focus this year," said Coples. "We'll do better than last year; using last year as a building block."

    Heading into the summer months, Coples was the subject of transfer rumors.

    "Just from people talking to other people," said Coples. "You can go around someone and they say they want me here or why am I not here. I'll laugh and they'll take that laugh as ‘He's coming here' or ‘He's going there.'

    "It was never anything serious. It was just options other people wanted me to take based off we don't have a very successful program here football-wise."

    Other rumors surrounding Coples regarded his academic situation.

    "I'm good [with academics]," said Coples. "I had to go to summer school for a math credit. But I'm not in a bad position or anything like that. This year is going to be a very big year as far as academic-wise. I'm not in a terrible position where I won't be eligible or anything like that. I'm going to take the SAT two more times."

    Edwards "doubts" that Coples will have a difficult time passing the NCAA Clearinghouse if he continues to work hard on his grades.

    "The big question mark is how he does academically this year," said Edwards. "He's going to get it done like he did this summer."

    Focused on academics, Coples did very little this summer regarding recruiting.

    "I think I'm going to start with visits in the end of this month and September," said Coples. "I think I'm going to [NC] State sometime this week or weekend to watch one of their practices."

    Coples, who already made a few visits to North Carolina during the spring, said he hopes to travel to Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Ohio State, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech this fall.

    "Just basically I'm going to be looking for how they treat me when I come up there; how the student population is; what's the coach's mentality; and graduation is a very important part," said Coples.

    After taking some visits, Coples expects to have a better idea of what direction his recruitment is heading.

    "I really haven't gotten into it," said Coples. "The visits are basically going to make my mind up. When I take them, basically I can tell you who are in my favorite five. But, until I take those visits I'm not really going to have any [favorites]."

    Coples says that Alabama, Clemson, NC State, and Tennessee are recruiting him the hardest. His classified his communication with the Tar Heel staff as "good," but said he hasn't spoken to any UNC coaches since the beginning of the month.

    Quinton Coples Profile

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