Walk-On Brings Long Hair, Heavy Metal to Mizzou O-Line
COLUMBIA -- The Mizzou football team has lost a couple of players on the offensive line due to injury during preseason camp but on Mizzou lineman ready to help fill the gap.
Max Copeland's dad went to Mizzou and his uncle lives in Columbia but he says he was destined to come to be a Tiger. Missouri is glad he's brought his enthusiasm to the football field. Copeland made it to Mizzou from Montana, he says it was a match made long ago.
"Rock and Roll Gods brought me here, man," Copeland said. "I'm telling you...I felt chosen to come here. Ever since I was a kid I felt I was coming to Columbia, Missouri."
Copeland brought with him a passion for pigskin and a heat for heavy metal music.
Missouri offensive lineman Elvis Fisher said, "He's out there every day yelling and hollering. Just saying stupid things that he comes up with. He's like that all the time."
His enthusiasm carries a few catch phrases.
Fisher said, "Get weird brother and doing the rock and roll twist with his hair. Let's pilage and plunder. Let's board their ships and take their gold."
Offensive line Coach Bruce Walker said, "Rock and Roll, brother. He says that all the time."
Copeland has the long locks that match his love for metal, but his hair carries much more meaning.
"When I first got here I shaved my head and decided I wasn't going to cut my hair all five years I was here and make it a symbol for the work I'm putting in here. So, these little split ends you see here... that was the start," Copeland said.
That start included life at the bottom of the football food chain: he's a walk-on.
Coach Walker said, "When you first get here all you're trying to do is survive."
"A lot of people don't see what walk-ons have to go through before anyone else has to get up that day," said Copeland.
Copeland's climbed the depth chart all the way to the top. He's listed as a starter on the offensive line.
Fisher said, "He does all the extra stuff. Summers here, always watching film. He's a really good competitor, too on the field. All that hard work is starting to pay off for him and it shows."
"One of the stronger guys we have in our room. He knows what we're doing and he's gonna have to help us this year," Coach Walker said.
And in return Mizzou plans on helping Copeland by putting him on scholarship.
Copeland said, "It would mean nothing because I'm not here for money. That's the biggest thing. I will never be motivated by money. I'm motivated by rock and roll."
Apparently nothing can change the rock and roll star.
"This is the life. We get to listen to heavy metal all day. We get to go out and put helmets on and head butt each other for a couple hours. It's awesome." Copeland said, "There's no other way to live. I weap for the day where I'll have to give that up."
Elvis Fisher admits he's a little jealous of Copeland's long hair. Coach Walker says he doesn't like it but Copeland promised he'll donate it to locks of love when he does cut it off.