Pope Picks Vols

Tennessee scored a major recruiting reversal Tuesday when San Diego lineman Cody Pope backed out of his verbal commitment to Washington and pledged his services to the Vols.

The 6-foot-5, 275-pound Pope was a two-way star at Cathedral Catholic High School, recording 78 tackles on defense and 75 pancake blocks on offense. He runs a five-flat time in the 400 and has excellent lateral quickness. The four-star prospect is rated the nation's No. 44 O-line prospect by Scout.com, although he could play defense at the next level.

He didn't get a chance to pass block a lot in his high school's ground oriented offensive system, but he's demonstrated intensity and toughness in the trenches.

The news of Cody's commitment comes at a good time for a Tennessee team that loses four starters in the offensive line, and needs late momentum to boost the current recruiting campaign.

"I committed to (Tennessee) this morning," Pope told Scott Eklund of Dawgman.com. "I called them this morning and told them I wanted to play for them and they were really stoked."

The news caught Washington's staff by surprise and, may prompt the coaches not to come in for a home visit scheduled for this week.

"He was pretty pissed," Pope said of Washington defensive coordinator Kent Baer's reaction to the news. "I'm not sure if they are coming down because they were pretty pissed off."

When asked about the deciding factor in his change of heart, Cody Pope, who returned from his official visit to UT on Sunday, responded: " "Tennessee is all about winning and tradition. They are usually about 10-2 seasons. They always seem to win 10 games. Washington, like seven or eight years ago, used to be about winning, but right now I just don't see that. It's been a while for them since they were winning."

A return to recruiting form could put the Vols football program on the fast track to recovery.

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