Pope Says Nope to Trojans

Karma has a way of evening the score, even in the dog-eat-dog business of football recruiting.

One the same night a four-star prospect from the Vols' own backyard turned down Tennessee in favor of a commitment he made to Florida State, a four-star prospect from southern California turned down USC to honor a pledge he made to Tennessee.

Cody Pope, a 6-foot-5, 279-pound offensive lineman out of Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego, said he essentially the Trojans — thanks, but no thanks. As tempting as the idea of staying close to home and playing for the team that has won two national titles in the last three years was, Pope said it really wasn't a hard decision.

"My coach told me they were interested and everything," he explained. "I went home that night and talked to my parents about it."

Cody soon discovered the Pope family was on the same page.

"They said: ‘We're Volunteers now Cody. We gave Coach Fulmer our word.' They told me they'd like me to stick to my word. I told them: I'm right with you guys, I just wanted to see what you thought about it. We're 100 percent behind Phillip Fulmer and his career there at Tennessee."

Pope was recruited by Pete Carroll's son, Brennan Carroll, who is on USC's coaching staff. As a senior, Pope had over 80 pancake blocks and 84 tackles, helping lead his team to the 10 victories and the playoffs. Mobile enough, with 5.0 time in the 40, to play defense, he projects as an offensive lineman in college.

He also projects as a Tennessee fan favorite for being a prospect as good as his word.

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