Pope Spotlights the "New" ACC

Cumberland, Maryland (Fort Hill HS) running back/defensive back Andre Pope has three official visits in mind. What schools top his list? Which conference is his favorite? Do the Nittany Lions have a shot?

Name: Andre Pope
Position: RB/S
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 214 pounds
40 Speed: 4.37 seconds in July
Hometown/School: Cumberland, Md. (Fort Hill HS)


"Possibly Clemson, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and I'm not too sure about my other two yet," responded Cumberland, Md.  (Fort Hill HS) running back/defensive back Andre Pope when asked about possible official visits.

In addition to the three previously mentioned, Andre added that Penn State has also offered.

"I've been there (Penn State) three years in a row, but I didn't go there this year," said Andre about his camp experience.

During the camp before his junior season, Andre had the opportunity to spend time with Larry Johnson, the coach responsible for his recruitment.  Has Coach Johnson kept in touch?

"He's been sending me mail."

Despite LJ, Sr. hot on Andre's trail, the Nittany Lions could be on the outside looking in come Signing Day.

"Penn State's probably my number five option right now.  There's no real reason to it.  They showed me a lot of love, but my interest is really high in the ACC," explained Andre, adding the Terps are his 4th option.

Maryland has not yet offered.

"They're looking at me as a running back.  As far as their depth at running back, I could go in and maybe take a few reps in my freshman year."

Currently only Maryland and Clemson are recruiting Andre for offense, while other schools feel he could help them at safety or possibly outside linebacker.  Andre stated that he had no preference when it comes to position, but he does seem to have one when it comes to conference.  Why is he so enamored by the ACC, a traditionally strong basketball but not football conference?

"Well Clemson, they're in the ACC, and I've always been a fan of Clemson.  With the schools that just came into the ACC, they seem to be the top conference.  They're the most competitive right now."

What other criteria will Andre look when it comes to choosing a school?

"Playing time, the right fit, and the feel of the coaching staff because I'm going to be there for four or five years.  I want to feel like I'm at home," expressed Andre, who added that Penn State and others still have a shot for his services.

"I'm open for everyone really.  My eyes aren't closed.  I'm not discriminating against any conference.  I'm open to all options."

With so many options to explore and visits to schedule, when does Andre expect to make his final decision?

"Hopefully I'm going to take all five.  I don't really plan on giving an early decision -- maybe the end of football season, beginning of basketball."

(Interview by Steve Curry)

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