August 24, 2006
Valdosta - When Valdosta State opened their season at Fort Valley State last year, one of the Wildcat quarterbacks they had to stop was Willie Copeland.
When the Blazers open the season next weekend here at Albany State, there starting quarterback will be the same Willie Copeland.
What makes the news so startling is first Copeland transferred to Valdosta State after the Blazers had already conducted spring practice.
And second, he beat out three very good quarterbacks in Barrett Wilkes- who started last year, Clay Callaway- who was number one on the depth chart after spring practice and Allen Tillman whose talents are so good he signed with Auburn out of high school.
Copeland was a two-year starter at Fort Valley State but left when the Wildcats changed coaches.
Chris Hatcher said "He has just practiced better than everybody else right now. And he has got a good command of the offense which we are very pleased about with him just getting here."
Barrett Wilkes is the backup quarterback for the Blazers.
Valdosta State fans will get to meet their this year's team Saturday morning.
A youth football clinic begins at 9:15 a.m. and Meet the Blazer events start at 10:30.