ROSWELL, Ga. — Roswell senior John Copenhaver was ready for his chance to shine on the gridiron.
When his junior season began last year, Copenhaver, the Hornets’ three-star tight end, according to Rivals.com, wasn’t even a starter.
However, he got the chance to move up to the top of the depth chart when Roswell’s starting tight end was injured. According to Copenhaver, his recruitment then took off once the preparation he’d done in advance began to shine through on the field.
“I would have never thought I would have offers at all,” Copenhaver said. “Once I started getting looked at, it was mind-blowing and didn’t really hit until football was over that year. I’ve been blessed and I’m just thankful for all my coaches, family members and teammates for the support.”
Now, Copenhaver is a senior with more than 20 scholarship offers from some of the biggest college programs in the country.
On the field, he sees himself as more of a pass-catching tight end, but he also says he has no issues with blocking when it’s required. At 6-foot-3 inches and 220 pounds, he presents a huge target for passers who is also just as dangerous after the catch thanks to good speed and overall athleticism.
Florida, Michigan, South Carolina, and Wisconsin have all come calling for Copenhaver’s signature, but it’s been North Carolina that has made the strongest impact in its efforts.
Originally, Larry Fedora was still coaching the Tar Heels when North Carolina officially offered Copenhaver. After Fedora and his staff were ushered out in favor of new coach Mack Brown, Copenhaver’s offer was taken away.
It wasn’t until he proved himself to Brown and the rest of his coaches over the course of a few visits last spring that Copenhaver officially received his offer again.
“What definitely spoke to me about Mack Brown,” Copenhaver said, “ was how good of a guy he is outside of coaching. He also focuses on finding good guys first and then the winning part after which I like a lot. It’s also a great school academics-wise too.”
Now that he is nearly ready to move on to the next phase of his life, Copenhaver knows North Carolina and college football could come with a new list of obstacles and challenges to overcome.
However, for Copenhaver after all, being up for the challenge and working hard is how he earned the recruiting attention in the first place.
“You could go from being the best on the field in high school to somewhere where everyone was the best at their schools too,” Copenhaver said. “I think [UNC] will be tough but my high school coaches have done a pretty good job preparing me. I’m just excited to get up there and get after it.”
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