Copeland paying no mind to unqualified social media critics after back-to-back career highs

Graham Hall
Special to The Sun
Florida receiver Jacob Copeland spins away from Missouri defender Ennis Rakestraw, Jr. (2) after making a catch during their game earlier this season at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

When it comes to his social media usage, don’t expect Florida Gators wide receiver Jacob Copeland to log off anytime soon. 

Especially when he’s logging impressive statistics, as he’s done in Florida’s previous two contests.

Against Vanderbilt, Copeland hauled in a career-high five passes for 56 yards, giving him 12 catches on the year in UF’s deep and talented wide receiver room. 

And in UF’s 34-10 win over Kentucky, Copeland capitalized on his lone target of the afternoon by hauling in a career-high 42-yard pass from quarterback Kyle Trask. 

How did Copeland celebrate his milestone? Less than an hour after the conclusion of the contest, Copeland was on his Twitter account humorously quote-tweeting Wildcats defensive back Kelvin Joseph’s pre-game message to UF tight end Kyle Pitts. 

Joseph poked the bear — or unicorn, as the Gators have dubbed Pitts — and Copeland and Co. reacted accordingly: as if they’d been unnecessarily provoked. 

It may have seemed like needless teasing, but Copeland is no stranger to social media criticism thrown his way either and he’s frequently used the platform to express his emotions after a game, regardless of whether or not they’re optimistic or pessimistic viewpoints. 

“Yeah I’m always on social (media), that’s for sure. But nah, it ain’t ever hard for me to do,” Copeland said. “So when I see certain stuff I laugh at all of it, like, period. It doesn’t matter what, who, everybody says.”

More:Florida's Kyle Pitts only FBS player with multiple games catching 3 TDs this season

The Florida fanbase has certainly thought it’s mattered in the past when it comes to Copeland’s posts, however. 

In the Gators’ 44-28 win over Georgia on Nov. 7, Copeland posted an expletive-filled message to his Instagram account after being held without a catch against the Bulldogs, despite being targeted five times on the day. 

Obviously he was dissatisfied with his performance, but that didn’t stop countless hateful and critical messages from coming Copeland’s way nevertheless.

As he’s matured, Copeland’s realized that’s just how social media tends to work in this moment in time; most negative messages, digs and insults seem to come from those far less-talented than Florida’s current roster rather than by those qualified to make such takes. 

The phrase “consider the source” hasn’t seemed more applicable than it has when scrolling Copeland’s mentions.

“Some people are still gonna say this and that: 'Jacob ain't good,' 'Jacob ain't this,' 'why they got him in the position of playing,' and this and that,” he said. “But, from everything else, I'm doing good from the offense’s side, (I) grade out every week, so I just don't care too much what the outside says too much about me."

And it’s worth remembering they’re only saying it with a computer or phone screen as a shield. 

He knows you’re not stepping to his face and criticizing him up close.

“It’s social media: people are gonna say this and that on social media but if they see you in person, they won't budge or say anything because, you know?,” Copeland said. “So I just go with the flow. I really don't care too much. As I elevated and matured, I knew what I wanted and what I could do, so I don't care too much about it."  

If he continues performing the way he has the last two weeks, the pointed comments directed at Copeland are almost all but guaranteed to dry up and cease. 

Until then, he’ll keep laughing them off, as should the fanbase when Copeland posts. 

Those getting an inside and revelatory look at Copeland’s maturation process should know the external opinions are just that: meaningless noise as he continues to strive for something greater. 

“Even though this (is) still considered my redshirt year, just knowing I've been here three years now, it's like, as I matured and knew what time it was for me, playing behind all the older receivers who are now in the NFL — who I still communicate with daily — they always kept me motivated at all times,” Copeland said.

“I played behind Van (Jefferson) last year, so every time we spoke at practice, anything, he always told me to stay focused, don't worry about nothing on the outside. And now that they’re all gone, that's always been up in my thoughts, I’m just sticking to what he said to me. So, I just feel like staying focused is the main key for me and just knowing that we have weapons on the offense, it’ll just all balance out. You can't be mad about this person touched the ball, this person touched the ball, you just gotta wait your turn for it."

Saturday

Who: No. 5 Florida (7-1) vs. Tennessee (2-5)

When: 3:30 p.m. 

Where: Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tenn.

TV: CBS

Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850