Jeffery Coprich, Jr.
Watts native Jeffrey Coprich, Jr. has been named the Watkins State of California Scholar Athlete of the Year by the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Alliance of African American Athletes.
The award is presented to the state's top African American male high school scholar athlete. The ceremony is set for Friday, February 17, at 6 p.m., at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Coprich will also be recognized the following day at the National Awards program.
Currently residing in Valencia, Coprich attends West Ranch High School where he maintains 3.5 GPA and plays the position of running back/cornerback for the West Ranch Wildcats.
Also, he is the son of Jeffery Coprich Sr., founder of the Los Angeles Inner City Mass Choir and LA Inner City Youth Choir.
On February 1, Coprich signed a letter of intent to attend University of California at Berkeley.
Coprich said he didn't always have an eye for football. "One day, I was going to practice with my little cousin and got recruited by a coach there," he recalled. He confessed that basketball was his original passion but "I always liked playing street football."
Coprich began his career in pads as a member of the Mona Park Hurricanes, then later played for the Expo Panthers under rapper Snoop Dogg's ‘Snoop Youth Football League.'
He faced tragedy at an early age when both he and his sister were involved in a severe car accident. A three-year-old at the time, Coprich survived but his seven-year-old sister, Essence, and two year old cousin, were not as fortunate.
Despite his loss, he uses her memory to help guide him. He continues her legacy with a Children's Book Club and annual fundraising to get books donated to the library named after Essence at the 116th Street School located in Watts.
"I've been through so much, it's made me stronger as a person and a player," he said.