Penn football alumnus and current New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Copeland was named to the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 Sports list on Tuesday.
The Sykesville, Md. native was a key contributor to the Quakers on the gridiron for all four years he attended Penn and helped the team captures Ivy League titles in 2009, 2010, and 2012.
While in his senior year of studying management and entrepreneurship at Penn, Copeland was signed by the Baltimore Ravens and also had a brief career with the NFL's Tennessee Titans and Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League.
He returned to the NFL and played all 16 games for the Detroit Lions in the 2015 and 2016 seasons, but a torn pectoral kept Copeland off the field in 2017. He saw time in all of the Jets' contests in 2018, picking up 34 tackles and five sacks.
After being suspended for the first four games of the 2019 season for violating the league's performance-enhancing substance policy, Copeland was reinstated and played out the remainder of the Jets' season.
Copeland's most recent signing came in March, when he signed a $1.1 million contract with the Patriots. He had a bright start to the season but suffered another pectoral injury in Week 7 and will not return for the remainder of the year.
The 2013 Wharton graduate returned to Penn in Spring 2019 to teach URBS 140 with Brian Peterson, director of the Makuu Black Cultural Center. Also known as "Life 101," the course received rave reviews from students. It was centered on Copeland's own experiences with financial decisions he made as a professional athlete and an investor, adding that he wanted to teach students what he wish he knew in college.
“My goal for [the class] is for the students to be able to approach these major life decisions with confidence and clarity,” Copeland said. “A lot of people just, well, we learned this stuff when it’s too late. And you’ve already made the big mistake. My goal is to help these kids avoid those mistakes.”
In addition to his work on the field and in the classroom, Copeland also runs Beyond the Basics, a non-profit organization fostering youth empowerment through sports-related initiatives, and two real estate companies.