"I really like it up there at Mississippi State," Deion Pope said. "They have some great coaches and it's a great atmosphere. I am heading back up there this weekend to watch their scrimmage."
Pope has some close friends already on the Bulldog roster in former Co-Lin Wolkpackers Tre Brown and Lashard Durr as well as life long friend and former high school teammate Mark McLaurin. To say that Pope has the inside scoop on the Bulldog program would be putting it mildly.
"Tre told me that if I come up there that I need to be ready to work harder than I ever had," Pope shared. "He said that the workouts are tough, but that it's worth it. He's doing good up there and he likes all of the coaches. He said that Coach (Brian) Baker is a good coach and that he is learning a lot.
"I talk to Mark (McLaurin) all of the time. He loves it up there and he had a good year last year. It would be nice to be able to play with him again."
Auburn and Mississippi State have both extended offers to the talented Pope. He reports that he has discussed both options with his family and he gets the sense that they may want him to stay close to home.
"I talked with my family about maybe going to play football over in Alabama and they were all sort of okay with it, but I could tell that they liked Mississippi State a little bit more," Pope said. "I know my family will support me no matter what I choose, but I get the feeling that they want me to go to Mississippi State."
While Pope is not quite ready to make his selection, the talented defensive lineman is wiling to admit that the Bulldogs are the team to beat at this point in his recruitment.
"Mississippi State is definitely my leader," Pope said. "They are out front for sure. I just feel at home when I go up there and I like everything I am hearing. I am looking forward to getting back up there this weekend and seeing how they look in the scrimmage."
The Bulldog spring practice sessions will not be the only ones Pope gets to observe this month. Due to minor injury, Pope is not taking part in on the field activities in Wesson.
"I am not going through the spring," Pope said. "I don't like having to be out, but I still have a couple more weeks before I am ready to go. I am just going to rest and get healthy and be ready for the season. It's been frustrating, but I know I will be ready to go when the season gets here."
Pope played in eleven games last season at Co-Lin recording 45 total tackles, five and a half sacks and one fumble recovery. Mississippi State is making the transition to the 3-4 defensive alignment and Pope projects as a defensive end in that scheme.