"I haven't seen his highlights and I haven't talked to him. But I hear he is pretty good. I'm hoping we can in and both just take things to new levels," stated Pope to PonyStampede.com. "It feels great to be a SMU Mustang. Especially coming from a little town like I did. I'm the first D-1 player that has come from my school. It was a big accomplishment for me."
A first-team All-District running back for Mount Enterprise, Pope was averaging over 180 all-purpose yards a game before tearing his ACL after eight games. On Wednesday, SMU coach June Jones reported that Pope's rehab is going very well, and that the new signee might be able to see the field next season. He was evaluated by the SMU team doctor during his official visit two weeks ago.
"I was extremely excited when I heard that, because I have been working my butt off in therapy. They said that my knee is looking good and that I'm about a month a head of schedule," said the 19-1A offensive MVP. "My goal was to get back as quick as possible. My doctor told me in the beginning that there wasn't a reason I shouldn't be back next season."
While some have been concerned about Pope's competition at the high school level, Coach Jones stated that when healthy the Mount Enterprise product is probably the most explosive player in the 2010 recruiting class.
"This guy is something else...He looked on his tape like Earl Campbell...If a kid is tough, it doesn't matter what level of play he is at," said Jones. "If a kid can run, he can run."
If Pope's rehab is successful, he is expected to compete for a share of the snaps in 2010 with Darryl Fields and Zach Line.
"I was a little disappointed when I heard the news (Shawnbrey McNeal), but also excited to know that I had a better chance to come in and compete for the starting spot," said Pope.
Pope's 1st offer was from SMU and he committed to the Mustang early. But, it didn't stop other schools from coming in on the senior. Besides for getting three more offers from Louisiana schools, TCU jumped in late on the game.
"It was pretty difficult. All these coaches are wanting to talk to you and want you to come to their school," said Pope. "I'm just glad it's all over."
Pope took his official two weekends ago and loved his time on the Hilltop. SMU freshman JaGared Davis was his host, and shared about SMU football.
"He was great. We just hung out and he told me about the program and how great the coaches were," said Pope. "It gave me confidence when I asked him if the best players play. He said yeah. He saw the field last year."