Popp To Join Pitt As Walk-On

Brian Popp earned all-state honors in 2013, finishing with 128 tackles, seven sacks, two interceptions returned for touchdowns and a blocked punt return for a touchdown. Along the way, he helped Loveland (OH) to a 15-0 record, and a Division II state title.

Brian Popp certainly had a few good options when it came time for picking a school.

Looking at joining a program as a walk-on, Popp narrowed his choices to Indiana, Michigan State and Pittsburgh. Last week, he had seen enough, deciding Pitt was the place for him.

"I went on couple visits to Michigan State and Pitt," Popp said. "I went to Michigan State last week. Right when I got back from Michigan State, I knew I wanted to go to Pitt.

Popp had a well-accomplished career at linebacker for Loveland (OH) High School. A two-time all-conference selection, Loveland was a first-team all-Southwest Ohio selection, a second team all-state selection in the coaches poll, and first team all-state selection in the media poll. That was after racking up 128 tackles, seven sacks, two interceptions returned for touchdowns and a blocked punt returned for a touchdown.

Among some of the top players he competed against are Cincinnati running back Jamire Westbrook, and the Glenville team that he faced in this year's state championship game.

The one thing that sold him on Pitt, simply the coaching staff.

"I think the coaches were really personable," Popp said. "I liked how I got along with the coaches. I really liked the academics compared to Michigan state and Indiana. Academically and athletically, it was a good fit."

He came in for a spring practice. This was after his former head coach, who had a good connection with offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph, sent film to Rudolph. When on campus, Popp met with Rudolph, head coach Paul Chryst and defensive coordinator Matt House.

"It was probably December when they first started showing interest," Popp said. "I talked to all three of those guys--Coach House, Coach Rudolph, Coach Chryst. I'll be on defense, but I'll start off working on special teams. That's my main focus. I'll help out however I can."

Popp said he was also impressed with the facilities, as well as the life skills center.

"I love how they are linked in with Steelers, the connection with the Steelers. Then, they have the training table set up so the players can come in and eat. That's always convenient. I thought it was a good setup. I liked the city, the campus. They can also set you up with a good internship."

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