Buford (Ga.) safety Jake Pope holds more than a dozen scholarship offers and has been in contact with numerous programs since Sept. 1, when college coaches were allowed to start actively recruiting prospects in the class of 2022 per NCAA rules.
Clemson safeties coach Mickey Conn, who is very familiar with the Peach State as the former longtime Grayson (Ga.) High School head coach, is among the coaches that have reached out to Pope since the beginning of this month.
“Coach Conn has texted me a couple times so far,” Pope told The Clemson Insider. “He’s just asking how I’m doing, stuff like that — basically what every coach is doing. They’re just asking me how I’m doing, what I’ve been up to, good luck on game week, stuff like that.”
Pope is the son of former Tigers strong safety Brad Pope, who graduated from Clemson in 1996 and played alongside eventual Pro Football Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins in Clemson’s secondary.
“He was a walk-on and then he kind of had to earn his time up there, and he did,” Jake said of his dad. “He worked his way up the depth chart. But he always loved it. He talks highly about it. We’ve always gone to games, taken visits, stuff like that. So, we’ve always been very close to Clemson.”
Pope, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound junior from Buford High School, has benefited from having a father who played college football and has taught him a lot about how to play the game over the years.
“He was a safety when he was there, so he’s always taught me the skills at DB, but he also always wanted me to be a two-sided player,” Pope said. “So, he’s tried to help me out as much as he can with my speed and help me at receiver as well.”
In addition to Clemson, Pope cited Notre Dame, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Nebraska and Iowa as some of the other schools he has been in contact with since the calendar turned to September.
All of the aforementioned programs have offered Pope, along with North Carolina, South Carolina, Southern Cal, Arizona State, Colorado and Indiana.
As of now, Pope isn’t in any hurry to make his commitment decision.
“Honestly, right now I’m kind of just taking it slow because I still want to go through the process and maybe take a couple of visits once things open up,” he said. “I probably wouldn’t start narrowing things down until after the season is over. Obviously I’m still going to be thinking about what schools I’m liking along the way, but I’ll figure it out probably after the season.”
Pope hopes to visit Clemson again following the ongoing NCAA recruiting dead period, which was recently extended through Jan. 1. He also wants to check out schools such as Notre Dame and Iowa and make return trips to North Carolina and South Carolina.
Clemson goes about its business in recruiting with a methodical and patient approach and has not yet pulled the trigger on an offer to Pope. But the Tigers are showing interest and would instantly emerge as a top contender in his recruitment with an offer.
“Definitely would be considered highly for me just because I’ve already been around it, I know what their campus looks like,” he said. “I love their family oriented team, stuff like that. So, (Clemson would be) really highly in my recruitment for sure.”
Clemson masks are now available and the latest Nike shoe is also available.
Please stay safe and get your officially licensed Clemson gear right here!