Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Kelsay Pope, WR, Samford
Kelsay Pope was a four-year starter for the Bulldogs and, in Samford’s 34-27 win at Wofford, Pope caught nine passes for 69 yards and broke Efrem Hill‘s career receptions record. Pope earned freshman all-conference honors in 2010 and second-team all-conference honors in each of the last two seasons. He caught 86 passes in 2011, 68 last year. With his 35 receptions for 537 yards, Pope’s in the top five in the Southern Conference in receptions per game and yards per game.
How many teams were recruiting you out of high school?
Around 7 or 8 teams. I was recruited mostly by teams in the Sun Belt, Conference-USA and a couple of FCS schools.
Where did you choose and why?
I chose Samford because of my relationship with Coach Pat Sullivan and also the opportunity of playing early there.
What are your goals for your senior year?
Some of my personal goals were to finish top 3 in the conference and nation in catches and receiving yards. Teams goals were for us to finish 1st in the conference, to make the playoffs, and to win a national championship.
Have any scouts met with you, and if so what are they saying?
Yes, I’ve talked to some scouts from different teams, a lot of them are saying that they like the way I play and can tell I have a basketball background, and also that my 40 time will be important.
At your position, what separates you from the others?
I feel like the way I play the game separates me, gritty, and tough. Not many receivers like to play that way. I also think that my route running and great hands separates me.
Tell us what you look for when breaking down film?
First, I like to read safeties and how they respond pre-snap, this lets me know how they try to disguise coverages. Then I usually look for where the db’s eyes are. If he is peaking in the backfield a lot, trying to read the qbs eyes and drops. When breaking down myself I usually look for speed of the ball, making sure im getting the appropriate leverage on routes, and also coming out of my breaks smoothly.
Who was the toughest player you have ever faced?
I can’t really say that I have faced anyone tough. Of course, I’ve faced a lot of good competition. A good bit of them are in the league now, but I can’t really remember a guy that I was in awe of.
If you could compare your play to one person in the NFL who would it be?
I would have to say Anquan Boldin. He’s a tough slot guy that isn’t afraid to go over the middle, and takes pride in playing well without the ball. Also a little bit of Victor Cruz. He can separate easily against press coverage and is quick out of breaks.
What system fits your style of play the best?
I think I fit well with any system because of my ability to adjust and learn quickly. I think I could be a matchup problem for defenses.
What is your biggest strength?
I would have to say my knack for making plays. Sometimes I don’t know how it happens, I feel like it’s just something I have naturally.
What is your biggest weakness?
Something that I’m currently working on is my 40 time and also yards after the catch.
If I were a GM and gave you a second to sell yourself, what would you say?
You should sign me because I’m going to contribute in any way that I can. I am able to make plays offensively and also on special teams. I’m a hard worker and very coachable.
Growing up, who was your role model?
Kobe Bryant has always been my role model. Since I can remember I’ve always liked Kobe and the way he carried himself through adversity, and with the game on the line he always wants the ball in his hands.
Who was your favorite team and player in the NFL and why?
My favorite team growing up would have to be the patriots and Tom Brady. I grew up during the time of Tedy Bruschi and Troy Brown, and the Patriots Dynasty.
What was the most tragic event that ever happened in your life and how did you overcome it?
Without a doubt losing my Aunt in 2010. Overcoming it was strenuous but with time I was able to forgive and have faith in God that something great would come out of it all, and now I’m at peace with it.
If you were able to have dinner with three people dead or alive who would it be?
It would have to be my great-grandma, Dr. King, and my Lord and Savior.
With your first paycheck what would you buy?
I never thought about it before. I’d probably just save most of it for a rainy day