Florida notebook: Copeland to transfer, more UF decommits; two Gators earn Freshman All-SEC honors

Zach Abolverdi
Gator Sports
Florida starting wide receiver Jacob Copeland has entered the NCAA transfer portal.

Florida wide receiver Jacob Copeland announced his intentions to transfer Thursday, becoming the fifth UF player and first starter to enter the portal since the hiring of new coach Billy Napier. 

Copeland, a redshirt junior, led the Gators in receiving this season with 39 catches for 607 yards and four touchdowns. However, he has expressed frustrations on social media this year over his lack of targets.

"After much thought, prayer and discussion with my friends and family, I have made the decision to enter the Transfer Portal," Copeland wrote in his farewell note on Twitter. "This has not been an easy decision or one that I have taken lightly; however, I want to do what is best for my development by pursuing my goals and furthering my career."

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Copeland has totaled 84 catches for 1,331 yards and nine touchdowns in his career, while adding 65 rushing yards on eight carries. He plans to play in the Gasparilla Bowl against UCF on Dec. 23. 

"I would like to start off by saying thank you to the fans and coaching staff for the support you have shown and giving me the opportunity to play in the Swamp," Copeland wrote. "A special thanks to Coach Billy G and Nick Savage. They have been with me since day one and helped me grow into the athlete and man I am now. I have learned and developed so much while attending the University of Florida over the last 4 years! ...

"To my teammates, thank you ALL for always having my back. You are my brothers and it has been an honor to walk on the field with you each and every day. I wish for nothing but the best for you all and I am thankful for the relationships we have made that will last a lifetime. I hope your future if full of success both on and off the field. Although my last game as a Gator is coming soon, I will always be a Gator at heart!"

Alabama, Indiana or Maryland could be potential landing spots for Copeland. He joins offensive tackle Gerald Mincey and defensive linemen Khris Bogle, Lloyd Summerall and Dante Zanders in the transfer portal.

More decommits from Florida's 2022 class

In addition to roster attrition, the Gators have also had some departures from their 2022 recruiting class. 

Five prospects have decommitted from UF since the coaching change, including four this week. Four-star quarterback Nick Evers (Flower Mound, Texas) and four-star wide receiver Chandler Smith (Mount Dora, Fla.) backed off their pledges Tuesday night, followed by four-star wide receiver Jayden Gibson (Winter Garden, Fla.) and three-star defensive end Francois Nolton (Miami) on Wednesday. 

More:Florida Class of 2022 football commitments

Four-star running back Terrance Gibbs (Winter Park, Fla.) reopened his recruitment on Nov. 30, two days after Napier's hiring. 

The Gators are currently down to seven verbal commitments in their 2022 class. Napier conducted in-home visits this week with four-star defensive lineman commit Chris McClellan (Owasso, Okla.) and three-star guard commit Jalen Farmer (Covington, Ga.), while three-star offensive tackle commit David Conner (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) received a visit Wednesday from new UF staffer Ashour Peera, the former head coach at East Ridge High School in Clermont, Fla. 

Two Gators earn Freshman All-SEC honors

Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson and punter Jeremy Crawshaw were both named to the All-SEC Freshman Team on Thursday. 

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Richardson was limited by injuries in 2021 but made an impact for the Gators when healthy. He wowed in their first two non-conference games, rallied the team at LSU and came off the bench against FSU to spark a comeback win. 

Richardson has thrown for 529 yards and six touchdowns on 38 of 64 passing, along with 401 rushing yards and three scores on 51 carries this year. He totaled 115 yards rushing and 152 yards passing (3-for-3) at USF to become the first FBS player in the last 25 seasons to rush for 100-plus yards, pass for 150-plus yards and complete every pass he threw in a game.

Crawshaw ranks third in the SEC with an average of 44.02 yards per punt. He has booted 18 punts of 50 yards and three of 61 yards, along with 19 punts inside the 20-yard line.

His career-long 69-yard punt vs. Vanderbilt ranks 12th all-time in program history and was the third longest by an SEC punter this season. In the same game, Crawshaw rushed for 28 yards on a fake punt, the longest run by a Florida punter in the last 25 seasons.