Pope Returns Home To South Carolina

The Gamecocks received another commitment on Sunday afternoon when SW Mississippi Community College standout cornerback Sam Pope, who graduated from Beaufort High School in 2004, gave his verbal pledge to Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks while on an official visit to Columbia.

Pope, who measures in at a solid 6'1 and 190 pounds, talked about his trip to South Carolina.

"I went down there, and it was really nice," said Pope. "I got to meet all of the coaches. It was just a good trip."

Pope originally committed to the University of Tulsa last week, but after spending the weekend in Columbia, he liked what the Gamecocks had to offer.

"I committed to South Carolina on my visit. I like it there because my family can come see me, and I think I can come in and play immediately. I think I can come in there and make a difference, and we can win the SEC."

While Pope is firm in his commitment to the Gamecocks, he does not yet know if he will be able to enroll for the spring semester.

"They said I have to wait on somebody else, because they don't get but a certain amount of scholarships for midyear people. So if one of the D-linemen that‘s committed doesn‘t sign, then I‘ll be able to come in January, but other than that I‘d have to come in the summer. I'm looking forward to competing regardless."

Pope, who will have two years to play two at South Carolina, stated what his goals will be at USC.

"I want to come in there and work hard so I can start. Then after two years, I can go on to the next level. Also, South Carolina has never won an SEC Championship. I want to be on one of the first teams to do that."

Coach Charles Anthony, who coached Pope at SW Mississippi, shared what Pope has meant to his program over the last two years.

"He was one of the leaders of our team," said Anthony. "We started him off playing receiver, and we moved him the fourth game full-time back to corner. The first game he played, he had an 85 yard interception return for a touchdown. He made us a lot better on defense once we moved him back to corner, because he could match up with the receivers in the league. I was defensive coordinator here in 99' through 2001, and every corner we had signed Division-I, and he's better than any of them. He's probably the second best corner I've ever coached, and the other one plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers."

Anthony also commented on what Pope's strengths are on the football field.

"He's got really good playmaking ability. He returns punts. He returns kickoffs. He's got good hands when he gets his hands on the ball, and he's able to do something with it. He's got decent height, and he's got good speed to be able to go up and play the ball against the tall receivers like you see nowadays."

Pope, who was an all-state performer in his senior season at Beaufort High School, becomes the Gamecocks 22nd commitment in the 2007 recruiting class.

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