#11 Marlon Pope
Senior, 6'4", 260 lbs.
Stats in 2014: Pope appeared in nine games and made one reception, a ten-yard catch in the opener against Western Carolina.
Spot on Fall Camp Depth Chart: Second-string tight end with Elkanah Dillon. The two are very different players-- Pope will mainly be used like a sixth offensive lineman, while Dillon doesn't have his blocking chops but can line up wide as a receiver.
How He Came to USF: Marlon went to Hattiesburg High School in Mississippi, where he played both football and basketball and earned all-state honors twice. He was lightly recruited out of high school and enrolled at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, a top ten JUCO program. He's always been more of a blocking tight end, but he caught six passes for 111 yards and a touchdown as a sophomore, attracting attention from a handful of FBS schools and offers from a few mid-majors. He wound up choosing the Bulls over Southern Miss, Ohio, and Middle Tennessee, among others.
Recruiting Rankings: 247 gave Pope two stars out of high school. Rivals and 247 both pegged him as a low three-star recruit out of Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Projected Playing Time: USF is pretty well-stocked at tight end, with offensive captain Sean Price leading the way and Elkanah Dillon emerging as one of the stars of the offseason. Even incoming freshman Mitchell Wilcox has been impressing over the summer, so you'd think this is going to cut into Pope's playing time, especially with his skillset being more suited for a Power I offense. Still, his blocking skills make him indispensable in blocking and power sets, and hopefully he'll get the chance to get a few receptions if Taggart incorporates some deception in his heavy packages.