4-Star LB Prospect K'Vaughan Pope Commits to Ohio State over Alabama, LSU, More

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 4, 2017

Credit: Scout

Ohio State added two-way star K'Vaughan Pope to its 2018 recruiting class after securing his commitment Friday.

Tony Gerdeman of the OZone passed along word of the rising star's choice of the Buckeyes.

Pope has played both linebacker and wide receiver at Dinwiddie High School in Virginia, but his future will likely be at inside linebacker, where he's the eighth-best recruit in the country, per Scout. Pope also ranks as the No. 127 player overall.

According to MaxPreps, Pope caught 33 passes for 630 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior in 2016. Simply put, though, he lacks the physical tools to excel at that position in FBS. He was timed at 4.96 seconds in the 40-yard dash, per Hudl.

Pope's speed is much less of an issue at linebacker, and at 6'2" and 215 pounds, his frame suits the position as well.

Since he has split his time between two positions, Pope will need to work on the finer details of what it takes to thrive at linebacker. He can rely on his athleticism to beat blockers off the edge, but he'll be in trouble once he gets engaged with an offensive tackle or a tight end.

Other than that, there's little not to like about his game.

Pope is equally adept at defending the run and pass, and he has the instincts to read a play quickly and get into the right position.

His experience on offense will undoubtedly be an asset when he's asked to shadow opposing tight ends or slot receivers. Matt Estreich of NBC 12 in Richmond, Virginia, shared a brief highlight reel for Pope in which he picks off two passes:

The fact Pope is rated so highly despite the questions over his position speaks to his talent and potential. While expecting him to make an immediate impact for the Buckeyes is unrealistic, he should grow into an integral defender in another two or three years.

Ohio State signed one of the top linebackers, Baron Browning, to its 2017 class, along with Pete Werner, both of whom will provide Pope with competition for playing time in 2018.

Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer isn't afraid to use a redshirt on blue-chip recruits, and that may be the route he takes with Pope, who would benefit from a full year of working on the practice field to adjust to FBS.

Of course, Meyer is also willing to allow true freshmen to sink or swim on the field if he thinks they're good enough. If Pope can impress Meyer during the spring, he could feature for Ohio State in at least a limited role next year.

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