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San Diego State football recruiting: Aztecs land JUCO OT Ryan Pope

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San Diego State pick up a promising JUCO recruit in offensive lineman Ryan Pope.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

There is a reason that San Diego State's cornerbacks coach Tony White is recognized as one of the better recruiters in the country. The Aztecs recently signed offensive lineman Ryan Pope out of Long Beach City College, and not many people knew that San Diego State was recruiting him.

Pope is a late comer to college football and picked up the game in his senior year of high school, and did not have a lot of interest, which is why he went the junior college path.

White discovered that Pope would be eligible to have four years to play three for San Diego State. Plus, it helped that he grew to a mammoth size of 6-feet-7-inches, and 315 pounds during his freshman year at Long Beach City College.

The San Diego State coaching staff realize he is a project, but being able to have him for spring ball and still be eligible to play three seasons is one reason for the risk.

"He said they really liked my upside and I like how they have developed JUCO linemen," Pope told Aztec Sports Report. "They were looking for a player like me that they could coach up. I've only played two years so getting in there and having more time to get ready works out perfectly. I just need more time improving my footwork, flexibility and strength and growing into my body.

[...]

"I feel blessed," he said. "They were willing to take a chance on me as a JUCO freshman and I appreciate that because I flew under the radar. I don't have that many years under my belt -- only two years -- so they have a lot of faith in me and my potential."

Check out Pope's highlight tape from his senior year of high school: