Buford (Ga.) safety Jake Pope has seen his recruitment heat up of late with several big-time offers coming his way recently.
In January, the class of 2022 prospect added schools such as Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Virginia and Boston College to his offer list which already included Notre Dame, North Carolina, South Carolina, Nebraska, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Arkansas and Louisville among others.
Pope (6-2, 190) has been busy communicating with coaches from the programs that are pursuing him.
“Recently it’s been picking up a lot,” Pope said of his recruitment. “I’ve just been getting a lot more texts, getting a lot more calls, and I’ve also set up some Zoom calls for the future, some other FaceTimes and 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.
Jake is on the radar of his dad’s alma mater and has spoken with Clemson safeties coach Mickey Conn. The interest between the Tigers and the legacy recruit is certainly mutual.
“For sure. 100 percent,” Jake said, “just because obviously my dad played there, so it’s always been a team that we’ve always liked. So, I always have a heart for Clemson, for sure.”
Jake has heard nothing but positive things about his father’s experience at Clemson.
“With him playing there, he’s always just told me about the culture and stuff like that,” Jake said. “It’s always a family type team up there. He’s in awe of the campus now and he always has great things to say about it.”
As a junior this past season, Pope helped Buford High School win its second straight state championship and earned all-region honors while playing both ways as a free safety and wide receiver.
In the Class 6A state title game in December, he tallied six combined tackles and assists and forced a victory-sealing fumble in overtime, while catching a couple of passes for 14 yards on offense and returning three punts for 30 yards on special teams.
“Honestly this year I think I played great on both sides of the ball,” Jake said of his junior season. “My stats were better than last year. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but I definitely improved, which is all I can ask for.”
As for his recruitment, Jake plans to narrow things down within the next couple of months but isn’t looking to commit until closer to his senior season next fall. Right now, he feels a handful of programs are recruiting him hardest.
“I would say the ones that are showing the most interest are probably Notre Dame, South Carolina,” he said. “Nebraska shows a lot of interest. So does North Carolina, and then obviously Alabama recently.”
Jake would obviously love to see the Tigers jump into the mix with an offer moving forward, and if that happens, he would certainly have a spot for them at the top of his list.
“If Clemson were to pull the trigger, I would just see what they have to say and then of course they’d be up there, for sure,” he said.