Charlie Copa played his first year at the varsity level in 2009 and while he does a lot of things very well considering that fact, you could see that he is a raw prospect with a lot to learn still. That said, the first thing I learned when scouting football was to identify what a player does well, so let's get into that first.
In the blocking game, Copa does a nice job both in pass protection and in run blocking. One little thing that stood out to me on some of his blocks that I really liked was that he doesn't give up a potential passing route which could be coming. On a few plays, he started out blocking, sustained that block until the last second and then made a quick, but subtle release to get into the flats and catch a pass at the last second. A lot of tight ends don't sell that well and make the play extremely easy to read, especially ones that don't get the ball very much in the passing game like Copa. That was an impressive little thing that I saw that tells me Copa is a quick learner and a smart player.
Copa does a good job of using his hands to keep separation from defensive linemen and also has feet quick enough to mirror linebackers and safeties when they come off the edge to get into the backfield. He doesn't overextend and uses his big frame well. He isn't a devastating drive blocker in the running game, but he is certainly an above average one that could get better with a few tweaks to his technique.
As a receiver, Copa does a good job of identifying where soft spots in zones are and sitting in them. He also does a nice job of creating separation between the line of scrimmage and a linebacker or between a linebacker and the secondary. He isn't a particularly fast tight end, but he does get himself open. Copa shows on film that he has solid hands and good ball security after he catches the ball.
Let's take some time to be objective and look at what Copa needs to improve on…
Frankly, most of the things he doesn't do really well can be chalked up to his lack of playing experience in my opinion. As a former tight end, one thing a newer person at the position tends to do is play way too high, especially once they've caught the ball and are in space. Copa measures in at 6-foot-6, 245 pounds, so when tacklers come to hit him he needs to lower his shoulder, focus on keeping his balance and then explode into would-be tacklers. The more I watch football the worse tackling gets and there were many times watching Copa's film that he went down far too easily. He'll learn to play more physically in the open field as time comes and will get more used to running in space with the ball. Obviously a kid who has caught 13 passes isn't going to be completely comfortable in his game yet. You're either an athletic tight end that can make defenders miss or a big guy that runs over and through people and Copa is the latter.
The second thing is essentially the same thing, but as a blocker. Pad level and the use of your lower body are paramount as a blocker and Copa needs to sink his rear end a bit more get in a more athletic position. That's it, it's not that difficult. Point blank, these are things that will probably just come naturally to him very quickly, but they're also fundamentals that he'll pick up quickly at Syracuse.
The verdict on Copa is that this isn't a "throw-in" recruit as some people will speculate. You have a 6-foot-6, 245-pound tight end here who already shows some impressive ability on film after only one season of varsity football. Also, let's not forget that he's playing for Westlake High School in Texas, not for the Little Sisters of the Poor. This is a quality late addition that could pay nice dividends for the Orange.
Film Eval: Charlie Copa
Cuse Nation Top Stories
Jim Boeheim Previews 2016-17 SeasonSyracuse head coach Jim Boeheim looks ahead to the 2016-17 season and discusses a variety of other topics.
Cuse Nation6:00 AM
Quentin Hillsman Previews 2016-17 SeasonSyracuse women's basketball head coach Quentin Hillsman previews the upcoming season.
Cuse Nation4:55 AM
Orange Madness RecapSyracuse had their Orange Madness event Friday night to kick off the basketball season.
Cuse Nation4:15 AM
Matchup Preview: Syracuse at Boston CollegeFull matchup preview, breakdown and analysis for Saturday's game between Syracuse and Boston College.
Cuse NationThursday at 8:45 PM
On Campus: October 22It is a big weekend for visits across the country with several schools hosting major events. Duke and Indiana are hosting huge groups of visitors.
Scout HoopsThursday at 1:45 PM