In this installment of the Recruit Notebook, we meet a smooth operator who can take over a game at any moment: WR Mark Pope.
Multiple times in the recent past, Alabama has gotten a top WR out of South Florida to turn down a scholarship offer from Miami to instead head to Tuscaloosa. Amari Cooper in 2012. Calvin Ridley in 2015. Jerry Jeudy in 2017. And, for the longest time, it looked like Mark Pope would be the latest SoFLA WR to join that group.
Through his junior year, Mark Richt’s first at Miami, all signs pointed to Pope following the footsteps of Cooper, Ridley, and Jeudy to Alabama. But, Miami didn’t let that deter them from recruiting the superstar WR hard from the beginning, and laying the foundation to get him to Coral Gables.
After leading Miami (FL) Southridge to a State Championship in Florida’s largest HSFB classification — 8A — in 2016, Miami turned up the heat on Pope in his recruitment in a number of ways. Not only did they get Pope on campus multiple times for invite-only events, they brought a key connection to the talented playmaker to Coral Gables as well; Miami hired former Southridge OC David Cooney in a support staff role with the Canes. That is the kind of power move seen at other schools, and was one of the last ones able to be made before the NCAA changed the rules regarding hiring HS coaches to non-coaching roles.
With increased connection to the Canes, and many visits to campus and sponsored camps, Miami was able to turn the tide in Pope’s recruitment, and got the talented WR to commit to Miami in March 2017.
Since his commitment, Pope has been all-in with the Canes, and that is a major recruiting win for Mark Richt and company. Pope is the kind of elite player that Miami needs to keep home, and they did a great job of getting the U.S. Army All-American to do just that.
On the 247sports composite, Pope is a 4-star prospect, the #11 WR in this class, #13 in the State of Florida, and #61 recruit overall. If he played for a HS that was better at passing the ball, those rankings would be even higher, trust me.
Pope committed to Miami over Alabama and Florida from a list of 21 other scholarship offers from around the country.
Pope as a Player
Pope is a great route runner, and that’s the first thing that you notice about him on the field. He’s very good at getting in and out of his breaks, and is always in control of his body.
Pope isn’t the biggest WR, standing 6’1” 175lbs. Even with that being the case, Pope can make plays in the air on jump balls due to his athleticism.
Another thing that stands out about Pope is his ability to make big plays in key situations. He had a kickoff return TD in the 8A Semi-Finals vs Deerfield Beach in 2016 to jumpstart a very slow start by his Miami (FL) Southridge team, and also had the State Championship-winning 72 yard TD catch the next week late in the 4th quarter of the State Championship game against Dr. Phillips.
- route running
- average build
You can never have too many talented skill position players, and Pope is as talented as they come. Even in a WR room stocked with talent, Pope should be able to find his way onto the field as a freshman.
Chances for a redshirt: 1/10
Pope is too good to sit on the bench for a year. He will find a role in the WR rotation, with the number of snaps he gets over the course of the season depending on his ability to learn the finer points of the offense and his route running technique.
That’s it for this installment of the Recruit Notebook.