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Official Husker Locker Blog

2011 May 18

NEBRASKA FOOTBALL RECRUITING: California Tight End Doing His Research on Cornhuskers

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If you’re not familiar with Jalen-Cope Fitzpatrick’s name, you soon will be. The 6’4.5” 238-pound prospect out of Rocklin, California is commanding some big-time offers including many schools from the Pac-12. While being looked at by some schools at defensive end and having the frame to be built into an offensive lineman, Cope-Fitzpatrick is considered one of the best tight end prospects in the country by several recruiting services.

“It’s pretty amazing just thinking about it,” he said when the topic of rankings came up. “Just thinking about where I was in eighth grade and where I am now. Growing up watching college players and thinking ‘that’s going to be me.’”

While he appreciates the attention from services such as Rivals and Scout, their praise isn’t going to cause him to let up at all. “I use rankings for motivation. I like to always aim high and keep high expectations. I expect a lot of myself. Being the best is a goal of mine whether it’s in my own eyes or the scouts’. I take some of it to heart, but you can’t really base everything on (ratings).”

Cope-Fitzpatrick gives much of the credit for his success to camps such as the Instinct Training camps that B2GSports offers. Ron Allen, co-founder of Beyond 2000 Enterprises, Inc better known as “B2G” or “beyond two grand” has been impressed with the commitment and talent he’s seen from the young prospect.

“Jalen is one of those guys who has excellent tight end skills. The kid has some pretty soft hands that you notice right away when he slides in at tight end. Now he can move and execute tight end routes with some of the best in the nation,” Allen said.

Allen sees 30 percent of camp talent start as true freshmen and saw plenty of former participants fly off of this year’s NFL draft board such as Akeem Ayers (Tennessee), Rahim Moore (Denver) and Richard Sherman (Seattle). He sees plenty of potential and drive in the young Golden State prospect.

“He would come down every weekend with his grandparents to train with the elite talent in California. He’s doing it for the right reasons. He’s not going on a national tour to bring attention to himself. He’s in it to get a skills advantage.”

Allen also commented on how Jalen has found himself growing into a leadership role which was something that the young man is used to by nature. “I’ve always been a leader growing up, whether it was at school or at home with my little brothers playing on the playground just because of my size,” Cope-Fitzpatrick remarked. “On the football field, I used to be really timid because I didn’t know what I was doing, so it was difficult to accept that leadership role at first.”

Once he does get onto the field, he presents a unique weapon for any offense and while humble, Cope-Fitzpatrick is confident in his ability to excel. “I understand my versatility. I feel like I can play in the slot, in the wing or in a three-point stance. I can play one on one where if I line up wide and I’ve got my size I can take on a cornerback. I’ve got my physical traits so if I line up inside and it’s a big linebacker against me, I feel that I can out run them.”

He’s taken several unofficial visits to Pac-12 schools around the area such as California, Southern Cal and UCLA. Ideally, he wants to use all of his official visits to get a true lay of the land. “That’s the plan, but you never know what’s going to happen. I’m not sure where I’ll be visiting just yet because I’m still taking it all in. Around early July, I’m going to cut things down to five to seven schools.”

Nebraska assistant offensive line and tight ends coach John Garrison recently stopped in to see Cope-Fitzpatrick and Jalen has learned plenty from the former Cornhusker center. “Tradition is the biggest thing that comes to mind about Nebraska. The fan base is huge. I heard they have really good facilities and saw some pictures. I’d like to try to get on campus and continue talking with coaches. They’re definitely a school that interests me,” he said.

Jalen heard plenty about the Cornhuskers before Garrison came calling. One of Whitney’s assistant coaches, Paul Hanks was born in Hemingford, Nebraska. “He’s a huge Husker fan.”

Like any other prospect, Cope-Fitzpatrick does have a list of necessities for a locale where he’ll be spending a good chunk of his life.

“Academics are big. I want to try to get into pre-med, so that’s something that’s high on my list. Location is second thing. I want to be near a big city and see how close the airport is. It’s important to know if my family can fly in and take a taxi or if it’s going to take a couple of hours to get to my games. Tradition’s a factor for sure. I’d like to go to a school that has big-time football where everyone on campus is into it.”

There’s plenty of time between now and February when he’ll sign his national letter of intent, but Cope-Fitzpatrick is taking his recruitment very seriously. Any potential suitors would do well to take notice that they’d best do their homework on him before he visits, because he’ll certainly have done his.

Tags: college football recruiting, nebraska recruiting, nebraska football, huskers football, huskers, jalencope fitzpatrick

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