DINWIDDIE, Va. (WWBT) - Competition among team members is something K’Vaughan Pope didn’t really experience growing up in Dinwiddie.
“He was always the best guy on the field,” remembered Generals’ head coach Billy Mills.
That all changed when Pope went to Ohio State. Now a junior, Pope is competing with some of the best players in the country and has appeared in six of the Buckeyes’ seven games this season at linebacker. He may not yet have reached starters status, but he’s all in each day.
“He had a decision to make when picking schools,” added Mills. “He could either pick a school where he could go a play right away, or he could fit in with a championship program like Ohio State where you go one through three on the depth chart, those guys could play anywhere in the country.”
Mills notes that Pope picked Ohio State for “the right reasons”- to get an education, get a good degree and get himself prepared for life after football. He also wanted to win championships, which he’ll get the chance to do on Monday night when Ohio State faces Alabama in the national championship game.
2019 saw the linebacker improve as a sophomore, appearing in 13 games, tallying 13 tackles and coming away with two interceptions.
The Generals’ coaching staff knew they had something special in Pope during his eighth grade year, according to Mills. He played junior varsity during that season and would be a key member of the scout team during Dinwiddie’s unbeaten 2013 state championship season. Now he’s turned himself into a role model for players who are participating in the same program he once did.
“I know a lot of our kids look up to him. Anytime he comes by or anytime he gets a chance to jump on a Zoom with us, I know the kids get excited about that, as do I,” Pope’s former head coach said. “It’s good for these kids to be able to look and see somebody who’s done it and done it the right way.”
Now the Generals will see one of their own battle for a national title. Mills knows that a lot of guys contribute to the Buckeyes’ success, but seeing Pope being able to raise that trophy would be a big step in the career of a player who used to terrorize Dinwiddie’s opponents.
“We like to be proud of our little piece of the pie,” Mills said. “We know K’Vaughan and what he’s about and everything he’s touched has kind of turned to gold.”
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