Florida remains in contention to land four-star wide receiver Jacob Copeland, who decommitted in November.
However, Tennessee’s hiring of new head coach Jeremy Pruitt and a successful recruiting visit earlier this month has “equalized” the Vols as a favorite.
“When Pruitt took that job at Tennessee it equalized [the Vols] to me,” Copeland told Scout (subscription needed) at the Under Armour All-American media session in Orlando on Saturday. “It was much love [on the Vols visit], showed me around. I felt good. I felt like I could do my three or four years out there, at Tennessee or whatever. … I loved everything about the campus and everything.”
Pruitt developed a close relationship with the wide receiver while serving as his main recruiter during his time at Alabama.
“Pruitt’s been recruiting me since ninth grade,” Copeland told 247Sports (subscription needed) during the event. “When he came out there my ninth-grade year during spring ball and he watched me, and he was like, ‘You’re a real playmaker,’ or whatever. And ever since, me and Pruitt, we built along, built along.
“When we talk, it don’t need to all be about football. It can just be about life, period. That’s the thing about Pruitt. Pruitt can be like a father figure for me, because we’re always wrapping it up. I call him or whatever, talk to him. I talked to Pruitt, like, I think the day of Christmas or whatever. We just always wrap it up or whatever.”
The senior, who initially committed to Florida in August, said “it’s really going to come down to” Alabama, Florida and Tennessee, but will also take an official visit to Texas A&M next month.
Copeland, who took an official visit to Tennessee on Dec. 15, ranks as the No. 9 wide receiver, No. 10 player from the state of Florida and the No. 54 overall prospect for the 2018 national recruiting cycle.