Banks Pope had been committed to Appalachian State since last June and was getting ready to sign with the Mountaineers in mid-December.
But two days before the start of the early signing period on Dec. 16, Clemson came calling with a preferred walk-on offer for Pope, and it presented a dream opportunity that the local tight end prospect from A.C. Flora High School couldn’t pass up.
“I was going to sign with App State on Wednesday (Dec. 16), and Clemson called me out of the blue on Monday and offered me a PWO, and it didn’t take very long for me to decide that’s what I wanted to do, growing up a Clemson fan, always wanting to go there,” Pope said. “So, it was pretty quick when I decided. But it was definitely the only school that could have flipped me from App State. I was fully prepared to go there and wanted to go there until Clemson called me. So, it was definitely a big change in a matter of hours.”
Pope, who grew up attending games at Death Valley and rooting for the Tigers, decommitted from App State the same day Clemson gave him the PWO offer and is now set to enroll at Clemson this summer.
“I’m just beyond excited to go to Clemson,” he said. “It’s a dream come true, as I said. I always wanted to go there. Didn’t know if I (would) play football there or not, but I definitely wanted to play football, so that’s just an added bonus.”
Pope comes from a Clemson family as his father and brother both graduated from the university, while his other brother is currently a student there.
His mother also attended Clemson for a time but ended up graduating from in-state rival South Carolina, though she is fully behind her son’s college choice.
“She’s All In, too,” Pope said. “So, she definitely loves Clemson.”
Pope, a class of 2021 prospect, played along the defensive line as a freshman at A.C. Flora before switching to the offensive line as a sophomore and then ultimately settling in as a tight end.
According to Pope, the Tigers see him as a player that has the potential to contribute as both a run blocker and a pass catcher from the tight end position.
“I’m sure they like my blocking, which has definitely been a big factor for me in my past couple years,” he said, “and they probably want to use me a little bit in the passing game, too, just be an all-around player.”
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