"I just like everything about Mississippi State," Deion Pope said. "I like the environment and the defensive scheme. I like the team and the whole atmosphere up here. It just feels like a home away from home to be honest. Mississippi State has been with me since high school, so I thought it was time to make it official."
The fact that the Bulldogs were patient with the talented defensive tackle, while he got his academics in order meant a lot to Pope. Even with other options from SEC programs, Pope stuck with the program that stuck by him.
"They've always been with me and they saw something in me early on that some other teams didn't," Pope explained. "When I had some challenges, some other teams backed out. Mississippi State was always with me and they encouraged me to get back in it and keep working hard. They always treated me like family and they wanted me to get my work done, so I could come up here."
The verbal commitment to the Bulldogs marks the end of a journey that began on the youth fields of Covington County. While many others faced with the tall order of working from behind in the Mississippi junior college system elected to give up on their dream, Pope persevered.
"Today means everything to me," Pope smiled. "I am just so relieved. I don't want anybody else talking to me. I am not interested in any other schools. I am straight with the Bulldogs. I am strictly a Bulldog."
Mississippi State's recruiting efforts were aided by the fact that Pope had three former teammates on campus, Mark McLaurin of Collins High and Co-Lin products Tre Brown and Johnathan Calvin. The chance to reunite with that trio was a factor in Pope's decision making process.
"I have three brothers up here and I couldn't ask for much more than that," Pope said. "They told me when I first get up here that it is going to be hard. I have to be mentally tough. I know once I get everything down, it's going to be super fun."
With his decision made, Pope is now ready to train his focus on the season at hand in hopes of closing out his Co-Lin career on the highest of notes.
"We are going to have an awesome season," Pope said of the Wolfpack. "I think we can have an undefeated season and win the championship. I think we have a great team. We could win it all."
Pope's commitment to Mississippi State was one of three on the night as Coach Dan Mullen and his staff closed out Big Dawg camp in strong order. Joining Pope on the Bulldog commitment list were offensive lineman Cordavien Suggs and offensive lineman Tyre Phillips. All three of the Friday night pledges are Mississippi natives.