Greenville bound: North Lenoir's Terrance Copper Jr. commits to ECU
North Lenoir coach Jim Collins, right, talks about Terrance Copper, Jr., who committed to ECU Wednesday during Signing Day. Sitting next to Copper Jr. are his parents, Terrance Copper Sr. and Kandy Copper. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News
LA GRANGE | A mentality change for Terrance Copper Jr. helped immensely in his growth.
Copper Jr. announced his commitment to ECU Wednesday at North Lenoir High School, following in the footsteps of his father, Terrance Copper Sr., who starred with the Pirates before carving out a nine-year career in the NFL with several teams, including the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs.
Copper Jr., who will also play receiver in college, leaned toward playing basketball and didn’t suit up on the gridiron during his sophomore campaign. Now, Copper Jr. said he’s thankful for the opportunity to play at the next level and a conversation with his father steered him back to football.
“It feels really good and I’m excited to start something new,” Copper Jr. said. “My dad talked to me and told me this is my sport so I should go for it. He had some great points and I listened — I regret not playing my sophomore year and I can’t wait to play at ECU.”
Copper Sr. said he enjoyed watching his son’s big moment.
“I’m proud of him because he definitely put the work in,” Copper Sr. said. “Today, I get to watch this as a parent and not a coach or trainer. He’s done an amazing job and deserves this moment.”
Kandy Copper, Terrance’s mother, shared similar sentiments.
“We couldn’t be prouder,” she said. “It’s wonderful to see him going to the next level for not only education, but to do something that he loves. It’s been a long road.”
Kim Brown has seen a great portion of Copper Jr’s trek at North Lenoir. Brown, the Hawks’ football coach from 2015 through 2017, said it took time but the potential was unlocked.
“As a junior, he did what he needed to do,” Brown said. “He’s got a good attitude and work ethic, and I knew he had it in his blood. The thing we always joke about — his sophomore year, we had a trip to the beach as a team and I told him he would regret (missing) it. I think him missing it might’ve helped him focus on the team and his commitment to football again. He’s always had it in his blood — I watched his (dad) play four years at ECU before going to the NFL.”
Jim Collins spent his first year at the helm coaching North Lenoir in 2018 and said Copper Jr. was a great benefit to the team.
“Once he got comfortable with my personality, he started making plays all over the field and had a great second half,” Collins said. “Now he’s got the opportunity to play at ECU and we’re definitely excited for him. I was thankful to coach him this season and I believe he’ll do well in college.”