First-year Florida coach Billy Napier will not have one of the Gators' biggest weapons in 2022. Wide receiver Jacob Copeland, who led the team in receiving in 2021, announced he has entered the transfer portal. Copeland caught 39 passes for 607 yards and four touchdowns this season.
"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 on Twitter. "A special thanks to [passing game coordinator] coach Billy G [Gonales] and [director of strength and conditioning] 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 four years!"
The junior took on the No. 1 wideout role for ex-coach Dan Mullen this season following a solid sophomore campaign. Copeland caught 23 passes for 435 yards and three touchdowns last year while playing alongside stars Kadarius Toney, Kyle Pitts and Trevon Grimes. Copeland had 21 catches for 273 yards and two touchdowns as a redshirt freshman in 2019.
Copeland was one of the stars of Florida's 2018 recruiting class -- Mullen's first with the Gators. A four-star prospect out of Escambia High School in Pensacola, Florida, Copeland ranked No. 69 overall and No. 12 among wide receivers during that recruiting cycle.
In entering the transfer portal, Copeland joins offensive tackle Gerald Mincey, as well as defensive linemen Khris Bogle, Lloyd Summerall and Dante Zanders. There could be more to come as new coach Billy Napier scouts and develops his first roster in Gainesville.
Copeland will be eligible immediately as a redshirt senior in 2022 and could gain another year in 2023 if he chooses to take advantage of the free year of eligibility that the NCAA granted all players due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Florida has veterans Justin Shorter and Xzavier Henderson available for the bowl game vs. UCF, and the duo should be back next season unless they transfer or declare for the NFL Draft.