LINCOLN — Jaevon Walton said he didn't “get serious” about playing football until the eighth grade. He didn't watch the sport much or have a favorite team. But Nebraska's newest linebacker commit for the 2014 recruiting class has been around the sport for much longer than that.
His dad, John Copeland, was an All-America defensive end who won a national title at Alabama in 1992 and later played eight years for the Cincinnati Bengals.
“He never forced me into it,” Walton said. “He let me decide what I wanted to do.”
The 6-foot, 230-pound, three-star linebacker wants to play at Nebraska. He's at Edna Karr High School in New Orleans for his senior year; he spent his junior year at Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Academy, where Copeland was defensive coordinator.
The moving around — and a couple inches of height — left Walton under the radar, so he originally committed to Louisiana-Lafayette. NU coach Bo Pelini attended an Edna Karr game, offered Walton a few weeks later and got his commit after a recent official visit.
“I'll play all three linebacker positions — it really doesn't matter,” Walton said Wednesday. “Whichever one I learn the fastest. I feel like I'm a good fit for any defense, but I like what Nebraska does.”
Robert Johnson, Walton's previous coach in Tuscaloosa, said Nebraska will like what Walton does.
“If he were 6-2, he'd be a top 10 prospect in the nation,” Johnson said. “He's perfect. Very aggressive. He hits in the holes hard, he scrapes along the line of scrimmage. He really plays the game fast. I look forward to seeing him on the next level.”
Walton said he learned many “X's and O's” from Johnson; his dad taught him pass rush moves.
The Huskers' most recent forays into Louisiana for prospects have been fruitful. Wide receiver Alonzo Moore has been banged up this year for NU, but coaches like his skill set. True freshman tight end Cethan Carter, also from New Orleans, has been a consistent staple of Nebraska's offense this year. Walton said Carter sold him on the “family atmosphere” in Lincoln.
“It's a real team-driven program,” Walton said.
As with Carter, Walton could see LSU making a late push for his services, but Walton said he hasn't heard from the Tigers recently.