football Edit

Arkansas wins out for versatile four-star athlete JuJu Pope

Rivals250 athlete Julius Pope is calling the Hogs.

The four-star out of Mississippi announced his commitment to Arkansas on Saturday evening, providing the Razorbacks with a notable recruiting win in early April. Arkansas beat out Alabama, Louisville, Michigan, Ole Miss, and Oregon for Pope's pledge.

Pope saw his stock explode in a big way this winter. Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide became the first to offer in January. The Razorbacks and Wolverines quickly followed suit, and he has made his decision just a few months later.

He breaks down his commitment to Arkansas with Rivals.




The Arkansas staff made Pope a priority from the moment that they extended a scholarship offer to the South Panola standout. Specifically, running backs coach Jimmy Smith and co-defensive coordinator Marcus Woodson.

Those relationships paid off in a big way in the Razorbacks landing the four-star over SEC rivals and national programs.

"I made my commitment to Arkansas, because they showed me love," Pope told Rivals. "The coaches text and call me every day. I love the environment up there."

Woodson, in particular, played a major role in Pope's recruitment. Woodson has deep Mississippi ties, and the two hit it off from the start. Pope trusts that Woodson can help get him to where he wants to be.

"Coach Woodson knows how to teach young men, and he's great at what he does," said Pope.

Arkansas hosted Pope on campus in March. It was his first visit of the spring and his first look at the Razorbacks. He came away impressed with what the SEC West program had to offer.

"The first thing (that stood out) was the coaches," Pope said about his visit to Fayetteville. "They keep the main thing the main thing. Then, I like the environment. The people up there love their Hogs."

Now that his commitment is out of the way, Pope is focused helping the Razorbacks take the next step and reach the next level. He has big goals in mind once he gets up to the Natural State for his collegiate career.

"I’m bringing a team-first type of guy," Pope said. "A dog. A player that will put himself in a position that will make the team win a national championship."



Juju Pope's commitment is further evidence in the hiring of Marcus Woodson paying dividends on the recruiting trail. Woodson has proven himself to be a strong recruiter, specifically in his home state of Mississippi. Sam Pittman added him to the staff earlier this offseason.

Pope saw his recruitment take off in the winter with offers flying in from major programs ranging from the Pac-12 to the SEC. In the end, his bond with multiple Razorbacks coaches won out. He is the second blue chip prospect out of Mississippi to commit to Arkansas in the 2024 cycle, joining Noreel White.

The four-star has played all over the field at a tradition-rich program in the Magnolia State. He has made a difference at running back, on defense, and even special teams. His versatility makes him an intriguing prospect, and he likely projects best on the defensive side at linebacker or in a hybrid role where he can put his instincts and range on full display.

Rivals ranks Juju Pope as the No. 215 overall recruit in the 2024 recruiting cycle. He is the No. 10 prospect in Mississippi and No. 18 athlete. Pope joins an Arkansas class that also features White, four-star defensive end Kavion Henderson, and three-star defensive tackle Dion Stutts.