The start of the 2020 college football season will not arrive until late August, but the Georgia Bulldogs and Florida Gators are already expected to be among the top contenders in the Southeastern Conference.
Georgia finished a game ahead of its arch rival in the SEC East standings last season, earning a third straight trip to the SEC Championship Game. The Bulldogs are now attempting to reach the SEC Championship Game for the fourth season in a row. Since the SEC Championship Game began in 1992, only Florida, when it reached the title game five times in a row from 1992-96, has been able to achieve a streak of that magnitude.
Gators redshirt sophomore wide receiver Jacob Copeland is confident that they will be able to stop Georgia’s streak of SEC title game appearances. Florida defensive lineman Zachary Carter recently posted a video of Copeland on his Snapchat account, and Copeland flexed in the camera before saying, “SEC champs 2020.”
The video reached Twitter, where it was seen by Copeland. The wide receiver repeated his statement in a tweet that included Carter’s video on Saturday.
“SEC champs 2020”…???????? https://t.co/WbdqlZzM8p
— Jacob Copeland (@JCope1era) February 15, 2020
Copeland, a former 247Sports Composite four-star recruit, redshirted after three appearances on the field in 2018. The Florida native had 21 catches for 273 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2019. His receptions total ranked sixth among Gators wideouts, but four of those players — seniors Van Jefferson, Freddie Swain, Tyrie Cleveland and Joshua Hammond — have now graduated. That could create more opportunities for Copeland to contribute in 2020.
Florida also added four new receivers in the 2020 recruiting cycle, two from the high school ranks and two transfers from other schools. High school stars Jaquavion Fraziars (6-4, 212) of Dunnellon and Xzavier Henderson (6-4, 192) of Miami Columbus, along with transfers Jordan Pouncey (6-1, 205) from Texas and Justin Shorter (6-4, 220) from Penn State, also have the opportunity to make an impact next season.
“Well, I like receivers that can catch, run and score touchdowns,” Florida head coach Dan Mullen joked on National Signing Day. “No, a lot of it’s creating match-ups. So what is your match-up advantage? 6-foot-4, you have a height advantage. A guy that runs low 4.3s you have a speed advantage, a guy that’s lightning quick. You’re looking for what are the things — what physical traits maybe create match-up problems for defense.”
“We were able to get a bunch of tall guys that create size match-up problems for defenses,” Mullen added. “They all have great ball skills and all are pretty fast, have speed to take top off of coverages.”
Florida and Georgia will renew their rivalry in Jacksonville on Halloween. If both teams live up to preseason expectations, it could once again be a matchup that decides who will make the trip to Atlanta for the 2020 SEC Championship Game in December.