Name: Antonio Poole
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Ratings: ESPN – 3* (78), Scout – 4*, Rivals 3*
Recruitment: Poole’s recruitment can be summed up in two words; Greg Mattison.
With only two weekends left in the recruiting calendar, and one of them being spent in Miami, Poole wasn’t even sure if Michigan would get his last official visit; Pittsburgh were after him big time. Then Greg Mattison strolled in for an at home visit and by the time he left, Poole was a Michigan commitment; although he waited a few days to announce it publicly.
Offers: Michigan, Purdue, Pittsburgh, Michigan State, Cincinnati, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Wake Forest and Syracuse were his BCS offers. Miami and Nebraska were also interested.
Stats: Currently weighs around 215lbs at 6’1. He runs a 4.56 forty yard dash. As a junior he had 64 tackles (10 TFL), 2 FFs and 3 FRs. Senior stats are hard to find, but apparently he had 22 TFL.
ESPN Analysis: Poole is tough and active with very good production against the run. Has the size and athleticism for the outside linebacker position at the major level of competition. His strong wrap tackling ability should serve him well.
Has great instincts, showing good play recognition skills against the run and pass. Has good timing when filling gaps and has the combination of strength, speed and agility needed to beat blockers. His speed and athleticism is also an asset in pass coverage; he’s very aware of routes and has the ability to cover receivers coming out of the backfield. Has a great motor with outstanding acceleration, meaning he can cause havoc in the backfield; showing good closing burst on the QB.
Improvements: The above evaluation is actually really positive, shame its not reflected in his rating. He seems to be quite good in all aspects of his position, so not a whole lot of work is needed; might need to add a bit of muscle.
Film Highlights: Link here.
Final Thoughts: The linebacker play has been subpar during Rodriguez’s tenure, and there is definitely a need to add some good prospects in this class. Poole is more than likely going to play on the outside, but he'll have competition from 2-3 guys in this class; however he might be the top OLB we take.
General consensus is that he doesn’t necessarily need a redshirt and that he'll probably see some time on special teams given his skill set. His playing time will be decided on how Hoke utilizes his current talent on defense. Do players like Cam Gordon, Josh Furman and Thomas Gordon play OLB instead of their old positions of ‘Bandit’ and ‘Spur’.