Before last Sunday’s game, Damian Copeland’s trademark was the streak of golden hair extending from near the front of his forehead to the back of his neck, the junior resembling a would-be rock star more than a football player.
Despite his striking appearance, Copeland was largely ignored by writers and broadcasters attending the pre-season Media Day event in the press box at Papa John’s. His playing credentials weren’t all that impressive, getting injured in the one game in which he played last season. Caught eight passes for 132 yards as a freshman but was rarely mentioned among the gifted receivers on this team.
Yes, that Steve Kragthorpe, who was criticized for burning a number of red shirts during his final season.
No surprise if some of the attendees at the event, this one included, wondered why he was there, with only a few players chosen by Charlie Strong to meet the media. Damian Copeland? Really?
Copeland was suddenly thrust into the spotlight against Kentucky, with his diving shoestring snatch of 23-yard pass from Teddy Bridgewater who was avoiding tacklers in his own end zone. That unbelievable catch would change the complexion of the game, with the University of Louisville marching 97 yards for its first touchdown. He would make three other receptions for a total of 53 yards in the game.
Copeland was recruited by Steve Kragthorpe, who did all University of Louisville football fans a favor by red-shirting the Bradenton, Fla., recruit during his freshman year. Yes, that Steve Kragthorpe, who was criticized for burning a number of red shirts during his final season. Probably overlooked Copeland as well.