As a 4/5 star recruit, Pope’s arrival on campus was heavily anticipated. His arrival however, came after players Brian Hightower and Dee Wiggins; which may hold the answer as to why he didn’t make his way up the depth chart.
In his weekly presser on August 28th, Mark Richt claimed that there are many receivers who have great talent, but aren’t ‘trustworthy,’ yet. Trustworthy to Richt means that he’s assured that the player(s) will be in the right area, and know exactly what’s going on.
Mark Pope turns out to be part of this group, as he has the talent, just not the experience or familiarity.
Brian Hightower however, who made great impressions throughout the off season, has adapted well enough to be Lawrence Cager’s backup at the “Z” Receiver position. With Darrell Langham being the only Senior wide receiver listed in the 1st/2nd lines, competition will remain high for Mark Pope to get playing time in his young career.
Should we be concerned? No. Pope’s potential is sky-high, as is his talent. If he needs more time to develop, then the credit goes to Richt and Ron Duggans for not rushing the process.
However, injuries, and player-progression will play out during the season, and there’s a good chance Pope might get get his opportunity. We can also consider the new redshirt rule, so getting some playing time against Savannah State is probable.
That same circumstance applies for other young receivers such as Dee Wiggins, Marquez Ezzard, and Evidence Njoku, who is a Redshirt Freshman. Game time experience, although it may be limited, will be vital for their development.
Young players have been commonly utilized by Richt, especially within the receiving corp; so it’s safe to assume that Mark Pope will get his opportunity soon enough. We can trust that the staff is making the correct decision, and helping Pope grow as a player.
Which True-Freshman Receiver Will Make the Biggest Impact This Season?
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