Jim McElwain has Miami WR Mark Pope dreaming about Florida

Mark Pope, a 4-star wide receiver from Southridge High School in Miami. (Zach Abolverdi/AJC)

Mark Pope, a 4-star wide receiver from Southridge High School in Miami. (Zach Abolverdi/AJC)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Jim McElwain delivered quite a recruiting pitch to Mark Pope at Friday Night Lights.

The 2018 receiver from Miami was a standout performer during the camp’s one-on-one drills, and afterward he met with McElwain in his office.

“He told me to dream about the Gators,” Pope said. “He goes, ‘When you’re about to go to sleep, close your eyes and picture yourself in an orange and blue jersey.’ I just kept smiling.

“Then he told me to walk outside the stadium, stand in front of it and picture how many touchdowns I’m going to score in The Swamp. I’m going to definitely dream about it.”

Pope scored a handful touchdowns Friday in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, and one of those catches was the highlight of his night.

“The bomb I caught,” Pope said smiling. “The coaches went crazy when I caught it, especially the receivers coach.”

That would be Kerry Dixon II, Pope’s primary recruiter. The two have developed a close relationship since he received an offer from the Gators on Feb. 28.

“He’s just a cool guy,” Pope said of Dixon. “He’s honest. I just see something different about him. I’m comfortable around him and the head coach.”

The 6-foot, 165-pound prospect planned to choose this summer between Alabama and Florida, but he’s holding off after visiting UF. The Crimson Tide were expected to land his commitment.

“I wanted to (decide), but I thought about it and I’m just going to open up my recruiting process,” said Pope, who also lists Miami as a top school. “I want to see what everybody else has to offer.”

Pope visited Florida twice this summer and will be back soon with his teammate, Gators tight end commit Kemore Gamble.

“I really want to come for a game,” Pope said. “Kemore Gamble will go to some this season, so I’m going to come up with him.”

Zach Abolverdi is the Florida beat writer for SEC Country and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.