Position: Inside Linebacker
Size: 5-10, 225
High School: Mount Enterprise (TX)
2012 Review: Kevin Pope played in all 13 games for SMU last season but backed up one of the teams leading tacklers in Taylor Reed. Pope recorded just 20 total tackles, but has always been a good special teams player for the Mustangs.
He forced one fumble last season and surprisingly led the team with three fumble recoveries. His season highlight was a 20-yard fumble recovery returned for a touchdown in the Mustangs' victory over Houston.
2013 Outlook: This will be the first year that Pope is a full-time starter for SMU. He will line up next to Randall Joyner at inside linebacker, which should be a big benefit to him. It will be near impossible for Pope to replace all of the emotional leadership or dominant play of Reed from last season, but he has shown ability in the past to fill in nicely for him.
Pope has the talent to be a terrific run stopper for defensive coordinator Tom Mason. He came to SMU as a running back, so he is an above-average athlete for a linebacker. He uses that athleticism to cover ground quickly and enjoys laying big hits on opposing ball carriers. He should be able to cause more turnovers this season as he becomes more comfortable with his playing time on defense.
Pope has appeared in almost 30 games as a Mustang since 2010. He will be a very important player for the team this fall on and off the field as a team leader. The chemistry between Pope and Joyner should be a benefit to the entire SMU defense. As the leaders, they will both need to have big seasons or the entire unit may struggle to stop anyone.
Player Profile Series: Kevin Pope
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