Copeland listed as a 247Sports ACC spring football rising star

Defensive lineman garners acclaim among ACC rivals

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Defensive lineman Kemari Copeland is emerging as one of the ACC's brightest stars for the upcoming season, following his transfer from Iowa Western Community College. Hailed as one of the Hokies' most impressive newcomers, the junior earned a coveted spot on 247Sports' list of ACC Spring Football's Rising Stars. Rivals also recognized his potential, ranking him as the No. 10 junior college player nationally for the 2024 class, while 247Sports places him at No. 12 among junior college recruits.

Standing at 6-foot-3 and 280 pounds, Copeland had a notable 2023 season, playing in 13 games and recording 38 tackles, including nine tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup. The defensive powerhouse’s performance ultimately helped the Reivers claim the NJCAA Division 1 National Championship victory.

The Virginia Beach, Virginia native’s high school career was equally impressive. As a senior at Floyd Kellam, he earned All-Beach District and Beach District Defensive Player of the Year honors, along with All-Tidewater recognition. During his junior year, the defensive lineman tallied 108 tackles, garnering First Team All-Beach and Second Team All-Region accolades. 

Following high school, Copeland spent a developmental year in 2022 at Army West Point, where he appeared in seven games and made two tackles. His impressive strength was evident with a 650-pound deadlift, a 675-pound squat, and a 400-pound bench press. At Virginia Tech, he continued to push limits, recently breaking the all-time program squat record with 605 pounds for 10 reps.

Now under the guidance of defensive line coach J.C. Price, the rising ACC star has already made a strong impression. "In Hunger Drills, Copeland has shown us a lot," Price remarked. "That guy can flat-out run and change directions. He was one of the first guys to hit 20 miles an hour. We haven't had a defensive tackle do that since I've been here." 

Copeland's blend of power, agility, and determination makes him a player to watch, as he looks poised to make a significant impact for the Hokies this season.

As excitement builds around Tech’s rising stars, there's no better time to secure your season tickets for Virginia Tech football. Don't miss the chance to witness Copeland suit up in maroon and orange for the first time in the electrifying atmosphere of Lane Stadium.