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Can Mark Pope ‘Step Up’ in 2019?

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A 5-star recruit in 2018, Pope’s young career at Miami hasn’t been full of highlights.

NCAA Football: Miami Spring Game Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

To Mark Pope’s defense, he wasn’t given much time to learn the playbook, as he wasn’t able to enroll early like some of his future teammates — hindering his ability to develop in his freshman season. In 2019, he, and the rest of the ‘Canes offense will have to start over. The fresh start should benefit Pope, however, as Dan Enos’ system is new to all Hurricanes.

If Pope is able to successfully acclimate to Enos’ system, we can assume that he’ll be an early contributor this upcoming season. With Jeff Thomas back and the addition of K.J. Osborn, Miami is completely stacked at wide receiver.

What’s also convincing is the maturity Pope has displayed this offseason. He took responsibility for his lack of production in 2018 and declared that he has changed his work ethic for the better. If he’s true to his word, Pope could have a breakout sophomore season, becoming another great, young receiver for the Hurricanes.

Looking at the wide receiver corps as a whole, it could be considered Miami’s most talented group. While some younger contributors struggled with drops and consistency a season ago, players like Mike Harley, Jeff Thomas, and K.J. Osborn should prove to be reliable targets for Miami’s quarterbacks.

For Pope, touches may be hard to come by if he doesn’t continue to impress — if he’s able to put the ‘pieces’ together, however, the sky's the limit for the former 5-star recruit.