Former Pittsburg State wide receiver Levi Copelin is out to prove himself once again.
This time, however, Copelin will attempt to do so in front of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ coaching staff.
Copelin, who was suspended by the NCAA for the 2014 season for using a banned supplement while at Missouri, signed with the Buccaneers after the completion of last weekend’s NFL Draft.
After transferring to Pittsburg State in the spring of 2015, Copelin led the Gorillas in receiving the past two seasons, including this fall’s MIAA-leading 60 receptions for 1,012 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Copelin said it meant “everything” to enter professional football with Pittsburg State attached to his name.
“Just personally and for my family, to have the opportunity to go out and play football again,” he said before pausing. “... Pittsburg State gave me an opportunity that not many people were going to give me. I didn’t want to let them down. I didn’t want them to make me look like fools for giving me a chance, because it was (a chance), I had some baggage. They gave me a chance and I wanted to make the absolute most out of it. It was very important.”
So how have things been since accepting an offer to join the Buccaneers?
“It’s been kind of hectic,” the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, native said. “They weren’t joking when they said it happens fast.”
Other teams that drew interest in Copelin’s services included the Dolphins, Jets and Seahawks. The Buccaneers were not on that list prior to the draft.
“Tampa Bay had never called me and spoken to me, yet I’m going out there to their minicamp,” he said. “It’s weird how it happens.”
Copelin, who’s been training in Oklahoma City, hopes to make an impression at this weekend’s Buccaneers rookie camp.
“I’m going to be enthusiastic,” Copelin said. “I’m going to have great energy, I’m going to fly around and try and make every play I can. If a ball comes my way I’m going to give 100 percent effort to make sure I make that play.
“I’m going in with an open mind. I’m going to go in and be as humble as I can be,” he added. “No matter what, at the end of the day, I have to earn everything I get. Nothing’s going to be handed to me. I’m going there to work and earn something. I’m motivated, I’m excited. It’s going to be a blast either way, and no matter what happens I’m going to be grateful for it.”
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