Class of 2018
Position: Outside linebacker
Top Offers: Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Ohio State
Considering College Football Playoff regulars Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State have all offered, the fit is just fine for Pope, who plays much bigger than this listed 6-foot-2, 215-pound build. Pope lines up at inside linebacker at Dinwiddie High School in Virginia, but he also returns kickoffs. That’s a rare combination. It’s not clear if the Irish are pitching Rover (outside) or Buck (inside) among the linebacker spots, but Pope could play either. The physicality he shows on tape suggests Buck might be he better use of his skills as Pope naturally sorts through traffic and plays a vertical game on defense.
“Pope is one of the top two-way players in the state, but projects as an outside linebacker at the collegiate level. Pope is a tremendous athlete with good size and strength. He is also very aggressive and comfortable in any defensive scheme.” – Scout.com mid-Atlantic analyst Michael Clark
Pope has called Florida his dream school and he’s already visited a handful of programs in SEC/ACC country. That includes Alabama, where Pope camped last year. He’s also already been on the phone with Urban Meyer at Ohio State. Normally, a top prospect from around the Tidewater region would be written off as an extreme long shot for Notre Dame. But the Irish got Darnell Ewell and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah from the region last cycle. In fact, Ewell’s team (Lake Taylor) bowed out to Pope’s (Dinwiddie) in the state playoffs last fall. Pope’s 80-yard pick-six sealed the 29-15 win. The Irish are no longer a stranger in a strange land in that region, even if they’re a long way from being a regular presence.
Three. The Irish already have commitments from Bo Bauer and Ovie Oghoufo to go with a host of offers already out. On paper, Bauer and Pope could project at the same position. But Pope is so athletic that he’s worth a take if the Irish can make it work.
Bauer (committed) Oghoufo (committed), Dallas Gant, Alan Tisdale, Dax Hollifield