It did not take Marquan Pope long to feel right at home in Pittsburgh.
Pope flew to the Steel City late last week and took his official visit to the University of Pittsburgh last Friday through Sunday. But before it was even over, Pope knew Pitt was the right place for him.
Pope announced his commitment to the Panthers on Saturday night via Twitter before he even got home to Denton.
“Honestly, me and my family have been talking ever since they offered me,” Pope said. “We knew it was a great place to be because we’ve heard nothing but good things about them.
“I got up there for that official visit, and it honestly felt like home and the place I needed to be. I just felt like I was at home, and that’s what I was looking for in a college. Pittsburgh was the place for me.”
A hybrid safety for Guyer, Pope said he will play linebacker at Pitt.
At 6-2, 195 pounds, Pope was the Wildcats’ ball-hawking, hard-hitting third safety in Guyer’s 3-3-5 defensive scheme.
Pope intercepted four passes during the Wildcats’ run to the Class 6A Division II semifinal, returning one for a touchdown in the bi-district round against Coppell.
The soon-to-be senior — who is a Dave Campbell’s Texas Football 6A preseason all-state selection, according to a Twitter post from Guyer’s football account — has even higher expectations for the Wildcats in 2021.
Guyer returns a bevy of talent on defense, including North Texas commit Vincent Paige, four-star safety Peyton Bowen and four-star safety Ryan Yaites, among others — but the Wildcats have not been ranked in many polls thus far.
“What’s crazy is all these rankings come out, and they don’t have us in the top 10 in the state,” Pope said. “It’s funny, because I go workout with these dudes all the time and played against them, and I’ve played on varsity for a minute now. I’ve see what good teams look like, and we are dangerous.
“To be quite honest, this might be a little ego or pride thing, but I don’t see anyone beating us this year. State is definitely in our sights.”
Pope will join a Pitt team that went 6-5 overall in 2020. The Panthers posted a 5-5 mark in the highly competitive ACC, beating Florida State, Syracuse and Louisville.
“It means a lot to me,” said Pope of playing at the next level. “I just remember growing up as a little kid always wanting to play Division I football, competing against the best. I feel like I can never be the best unless I compete against the best and beat the best. This is a dream come true. It’s exactly the kind of college I was looking for.”