Freshman Friday Welcomes Mark Pope

Freshman Friday Welcomes Mark Pope

Cory Grimes
Freshman Friday
A common theme across the country as well as for the Hurricanes over the past couple of years is that freshman can and will make an impact immediately. We can expect that trend to continue as Richt’s highly touted Storm 18 class quickly gets acclimated this summer. In CIS’ latest installment, Freshman Friday, I’d like to help familiarize us with possible impact freshman by giving scouting reports and my predictions for the upcoming season.

The first new face I’d like to welcome is arguably the most anticipated addition from Richt’s Storm 18 class: local star Mark Pope. The Southridge Spartan and 2016 state champ leads a group of talented freshman wideouts. From what I have heard from fellow Canes’ faithful, we continue what we do best. We’ve already placed enormously high expectations on Pope. It seems many have already dubbed the hometown kid the next great Hurricanes pass catcher. But as I dig in to the Mark Pope files, it doesn’t take much convincing to believe that just might be the case.

Scouting Report
Also a track star, Pope ran a 10.53 in the 100m dash. He has obvious top end speed. But there are a lot of fast guys out there. The thing that impresses me most about Pope is his ability to effortlessly change speeds throughout his routes. He has a great feeling for knowing when to accelerate or decelerate to create separation. He is an incredibly smooth yet technical receiver who clearly pays attention to the details of running routes. Once he’s caught the ball, the show has only just begun. Whether it is after the catch or in the return game, he’s special with the ball in his hands. He is the kind of guy who can turn a good play into a game changing play. He’s fast but under control, and when he decides to hit that final gear, it’s goodnight sleep tight.

Pope is more than comfortable making contested catches. He catches the ball with ease. He made acrobatic catches in high pressure moments throughout his high school career including the game winning touchdown in the state championship. He seems to have an innate ability to control his body in the air as he contorts to come down with the ball any way possible. He stands at 6’1, but with his obvious flexibility and dexterity, his catch radius is that of someone much taller. In my opinion, Pope doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses. He just needs to continue to hone his craft and progress to the level we all believe he can reach. Around 175 pounds, he’s a bit slight. He will certainly need to add some bulk in due time. With all the tools to be the next go-to receiver, the excitement around this young man is warranted.

2018 Predictions
Pope looks to find a role in a talented receiving corps right away. Ron Dugans has spoken highly of Pope’s impressive skillset. He can run a full route tree, and is quite capable of lining up inside or outside, which will help him get on the field quickly. However, with Dugans no nonsense approach to blocking, Pope will need to take his overall physicality to another level for him to play a consistent role in the offense this year. Mark’s skills in the return game will also help him get on the field. He is able to see several cuts ahead and use his patience to set up blocks and spring huge returns. Expect to see Pope get some opportunities to win a job returning kicks or punts.

I do believe Pope will see some rotational time on offense early on this season and could see a larger role as the year goes on. He is the kind of weapon who is hard to keep off the field. I could picture him making a couple of splash plays and making it hard for the coaches to resist. The potential for this man is unlimited, but let’s give him time. The physicality of playing receiver in high school vs. college is night and day. There will be growing pains, but I really believe he is a tough minded kid who will surely be able to adapt. I wouldn’t expect to see any crazy numbers from Pope this year, but I do expect to see some flashes of his expected greatness reminding us why many think this is the beginning of a future Hurricanes legend. The Pope has landed in Coral Gables, and he’s here to bless opposing DB’s.
 

Comments (40)

I'm curious to hear the boards opinion of popes potential in relation to what ahhmon was able to do as a freshmen in capturing the all time canes record from the hands of Mike Irvin himself. Does anyone see pope having that type of impact? Or was Richards accomplishments simply due to the fact that our WR Corp was well below par from what old time canes fans are accustomed to
 
I'm curious to hear the boards opinion of popes potential in relation to what ahhmon was able to do as a freshmen in capturing the all time canes record from the hands of Mike Irvin himself. Does anyone see pope having that type of impact? Or was Richards accomplishments simply due to the fact that our WR Corp was well below par from what old time canes fans are accustomed to

As special as Richards is I would have to go with the latter.
 
I'm curious to hear the boards opinion of popes potential in relation to what ahhmon was able to do as a freshmen in capturing the all time canes record from the hands of Mike Irvin himself. Does anyone see pope having that type of impact? Or was Richards accomplishments simply due to the fact that our WR Corp was well below par from what old time canes fans are accustomed to
No way he gets that much. Way to much talent on the field. Thats no offence to Pope at all Noodles gonna be great. His Soph year if Richards leaves we can expect those kind of #'s
 
I'm curious to hear the boards opinion of popes potential in relation to what ahhmon was able to do as a freshmen in capturing the all time canes record from the hands of Mike Irvin himself. Does anyone see pope having that type of impact? Or was Richards accomplishments simply due to the fact that our WR Corp was well below par from what old time canes fans are accustomed to

Certainly the main difference is we NEEDED Richards to step up and take that #2 WR role. As talented as Pope is i don't think he's going to make that impact year 1 because he's a late arrival and we have established talent. No knock on his potential it's just a diff situation.

AR freshmen year supporting cast

Kayaa
Coley
Njoku/Herndon
Berrios/Lewis
Very sub par Oline

Pope freshmen year supporting cast

Rosier?
Ahmon Richards
Jordan/Mallory
Thomas/Cager
Harley/Hightower/Njoku/Langham
Better Oline
 
Pope is a "playmaker" in his own right. Plus he has that Miami Aggressive Swag. He is a prime example that if our top local boys stay home we'd field an All Star team every Saturday. Miami is in a position that the sec and the ncaa fears.
 
Pope will likely be a solid WR for us, but there won't be enough balls to go around for him to break any freshman records.

Deepest and most talented position group on the team.
 
Certainly the main difference is we NEEDED Richards to step up and take that #2 WR role. As talented as Pope is i don't think he's going to make that impact year 1 because he's a late arrival and we have established talent. No knock on his potential it's just a diff situation.

AR freshmen year supporting cast

Kayaa
Coley
Njoku/Herndon
Berrios/Lewis
Very sub par Oline

Pope freshmen year supporting cast

Rosier?
Ahmon Richards
Jordan/Mallory
Thomas/Cager
Harley/Hightower/Njoku/Langham
Better Oline


Excellent point and I do agree. Upon perspective, Richards indeed had the perfect recipe in place to accomplish what he did. Not the least of which was a real shittty supporting cast. Seeing one of our freshman even come close to that kind of freshman campaign would be phenomenal.
 
If pope had brad kayaa slinging rock he'd make more noise, if we can get rosier to stop throwing alley oop deep balls, they all should be straight. No doubt, jeff thomas should've easily had another 300 yards receiving last year, just see the clemson game where coach richt called the perfect play after clemson scored, jt was wide open, would've walked in the endzone, it was a minimum 55 plus yard bomb. Grant Malik's shoulder wasnt %100, so gotta give em the benefit of the doubt, but if healthy, we'll see this year, the main with rosier, at least team knows we can win with em!
 
I'm not as down on Rosier as most (not to say I think he's a great QB), but man thinking about all the speed at WR makes me really wish we had a guy who can actually sling it.

Super excited about Williams but we all know CMR loves experience and seniority in a QB. Regardless the WR's are absolutely sick. Praying for the very unlikely scenario that AR comes back for his senior year to win a ring and play with his little bro.
 
First question, does he know enough of the O to play? Can he block? We know how we love those blocking WRs.
Let the kid learn and adjust
 
Nice article.

Assuming even halfway decent QB play, Pope should be a Freshman AA.

Now that Richt finally has the offensive weapons he's wanted, I see much more uptempo, and expect a lot more snaps per game. And we all know Dugans loves to rotate WRs to create mismatches. Which means Pope will get a lot of balls thrown his way even with the other WRs being better than Richards' freshman year.

While I agree with the original post that Pope's blocking ability will be a factor, I expect most of his packages will be in spread situations where blocking is less relevant unless it's a screen pass. Even then, they probably put Pope on the weakside to start, so his CB is isolated.
 

2021 Commits

S
6'5"
220
Fort Lauderdale, FL
DT
6'4"
255
Miami, FL
OG
6'2"
295
Miami, FL
DT
6'4"
290
Miami, FL
DE
6'5"
210
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WR
6'2"
180
Miami, FL
RB
6'0"
225
Hollywood, FL
TE
6'4"
210
Frisco, TX
STR
6'3"
190
Melbourne, FL
S
5'11"
200
Miami, FL

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