Travares Copeland remembers the moment he found out he had been cleared to play football at N.C. State during the 2013 season.
"I was so excited, Copeland said. Transferring from D-I to D-I and having the chance to play again is like a one-in-a-million chance. The whole time I had faith because (the NCAA) knew I was telling the truth about my situation."
The situation Copeland referred to was his grandmother, Margaret King, coming down with an illness midway through his freshman season at West Virginia.
Both of my grandmas raised me since I was (very young.) So when she started to get sick, it started to affect me on and off the field. Being so far away was taking a toll on me on and off the field.
So following his most productive game of the season against TCU, in which he had six receptions for 40 yards, Copeland decided that he wanted to be closer to his grandmother back home in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Shortly after Copeland returned home, King passed away at 104 years old. Though it affected the young receiver, it allowed him to look at other schools outside of Florida, which led him to N.C. State.
Im not sad now because shes in a better place and it made me appreciate things a lot more, Copeland said. Now Ive got a chance to play in the ACC. It made me work hard, Im asking more questions in meetings, Im learning the playbook and Im more focused now.
Im not taking things for granted anymore.
As for his decision to join the Wolfpack, Copeland said coach Dave Doeren sold him on the program immediately.
He won me over from the jump, he said. I had a lot of junior college and D-I schools in Florida after me. But after I spoke to coach Doeren on the phone, the next day he was in my living room. That won me over.
The things he was telling me, I knew he wasnt lying and I knew he had a great future for us.
Doeren knew bringing Copeland in would diversify his offense.
I think him and Rashard (Smith) and (Brian) Underwood are similar in size, but different in skills, he said. He brings a good skill set after the catch, hes a good route runner and hes a competitor. Hes learned the offense quickly he can help us.
On the field, Copeland has proven his worth among his teammates as well.
Standing at 5-foot-11, Copeland is undersized for a receiver, but is taller than both Rashard Smith and Brian Underwood, who are 5-foot-9.
Smith believes he and Copeland can be significant parts of the new offense.
Hes came a long way since day one, he said of Copeland. Hes a great guy and just as good of a football player. Being shorter guys, weve got to use better technique than the taller guys. Weve both got speed and elusiveness on our side and I think that makes up for our height.
Copeland lined up last season with Tavon Austin, who, despite being 5-foot-9, was drafted eighth overall to the St. Louis Rams in the 2013 NFL Draft.
The one thing that he taught me was to be precise about everything I do, Copeland said.
Dont take long to do your job, get in and get out. Youve got to get the job done and get it done fast.
Copeland has quickly learned how to fit in with the Wolfpack and he hopes that will lead to significant playing time this season not only for his own sake, his grandmothers.
Im working hard and I know shes watching down on me, he said after a deep breath.
I really loved her and I just want to make her and my teammates happy.
Smith: 919-829-4841; @RCorySmith