Copeland's Next Level

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Thomasville, GA - The booming sound of Danny Copeland's voice echoes the instructions to six morning participants. This is the former Super Bowl champion's normal routine at least five days a week. Copeland has been the owner of Next Level Training in Thomasville for 14 years.

"We try and help them learn and understand principles that they can embrace. Like going the extra mile," said Copeland, who played for the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins during his five years in the NFL.

The Thomas County Central alum refers to people like Shelby Hiers. Hiers, a Quitman native, has worked with Copeland for two years. Next month she'll be going to Arkansas on a softball scholarship.

"It teaches you to work hard no matter what," she said. "Even if you're feeling down, you still gotta work hard to get to the next level."

Copeland will sometimes take his trainees across the street to a brick building to illustrate how one of the bricks is a different color. His point is to show them that only one of hundreds of high school and college athletes will move on to the next level.

"He teaches you about being focused and teaches you about the little things," said Modzelle Atkins, a Camilla, Ga. native and a sophomore running back at Brevard College. "He teaches you about the little things."

"Being a part of seeing a lot of that happen, yeah, that's our Super Bowl," Copeland said.

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