Jake Pope talks first game day experience in Tuscaloosa
Jake Pope, three-star safety from Buford High School in Georgia, has been to a few college football games this fall including Alabama's season opener against Miami. He has been to Athens, Georgia twice. He took in a first-ever Alabama home game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday.
Pope was accompanied by his parents, stepdad, stepmom, two brothers, sister and teammate, Malik Spencer, during the Tide's 42-21 win against the Ole Miss Rebels.
"The visit was great," said Pope. "I loved the town on game day. The environment was really cool. It was cool to see all the people there.
"I have only been inside the stadium when it was empty during my official visit. It was cool to see it packed out. It was cool to see the Walk (of Champions) before the game. Overall, it was just a great visit. It was great to be back over there.
"They did what I thought they would do. They came out fast. The offense and the defense played great. They just looked like a great team altogether. I was excited to see what they would be able to do with (Matt) Corral.
"You would have thought he was going to be a problem, but Bama shut him down. I know he had some plays in the end. The DBs played great. Jordan Battle was great. Bryce Young played really well. I was happy to see him play in-person again. He is definitely playing like the Heisman-favorite."
Pope spent time with other recruits who were in attendance. He also talked with a few coaches and Crimson Tide players. Alabama assistant coach Charles Kelly went to see Pope play two weeks ago.
"Recruit-wise, I talked to Emmanuel (Henderson, Jeremiah (Alexander) and Tony Mitchell," he said. "I talked to Arch (Manning) a little bit. I talked to Coach Saban before the game and saw Coach Kelly. I talked to some of the players. I got to see Malachi (Moore) after the game and a few other players.
"The coaches were just excited to see me in town for the game. They have been wanting me to get back over there. They were happy I was able to make it. They are excited for me to be a part of the family. They told me to keep coming back to games to be around my future teammates and coaches.
"It was good to see Coach Kelly. He came to watch me play a few weeks ago. I hadn't seen him since my official visit. It was amazing for him to come watch me. It just shows how important I am to them. It's another reason why I am committed. It was a great experience. I had hurt my knee, but played through it that night and had a good game, a few tackles for loss."
The Buford native was happy to see the Tide's dominant performance against the Rebels. Pope has enjoyed what he has seen from Alabama this season. There are many aspects which re-affirm his commitment.
"The team has looked great," Pope said. "Coach Saban keeps talking about finishing the second half. They are getting better. They are taking it game by game. It's starting to pay off. They will only continue to get better throughout the season.
"My commitment is still 100-percent. No doubt about it. I just love what I have seen. The way Coach Kelly has recruited me since day one really sticks out to me. I loved my official visit. I love the campus. I love how they develop players. They put you through the grind to be successful. It's a great school for me. I fit in great. It was everything I was looking for in the recruiting process."
A few other schools have continued recruiting him since his commitment to Alabama including Georgia and North Carolina. He is enjoying game day visits this fall, but does not intend to change his decision.
"I have been wanting to go to a lot of games to schools that were in my top group," he said. "I haven't really been able to experience it before. I still talk to Georgia and North Carolina. I will most likely go to North Carolina again. I will be back at Alabama for the Tennessee game, LSU game and most likely the Arkansas game."