Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Antonio Poole, Wolverine

Antonio Poole chose Michigan instead of someplace worse.

Antonio Poole, an outside linebacker from Cincinnati, OH, committed to Michigan on Tuesday after receiving an in-home visit from new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison on Monday.  Poole is a 6'1", 215 lb. prospect with other offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Purdue, among others.

Poole is a 4-star prospect and the #13 outside linebacker to Scout, but a 3-star to Rivals and ESPN.  Rivals ranks him as the #26 player at his position and ESPN puts him at #41.  There's a bit of a wide spread in the rankings, but overall, it seems that Poole is a solid prospect for Michigan to pull at this point in the recruiting cycle.  I'm encouraged by Poole's offer from Louisville, since head coach Charlie Strong (a former University of Florida defensive coordinator) clearly has a good idea of how to run a defense.  I would tend to agree with Scout more than the other two here.  I don't see what Rivals and ESPN dislike about the kid's game.

Poole reminds me a bit of Chris Graham in body stature, who played weakside linebacker for Michigan a few years ago.  The thing I like most about him is that he's a very physical tackler.  Graham had a couple de-cleaters as a Wolverine, but he was never a standout.  (On a related note, Graham is currently playing middle linebacker for a pro football team . . . in Germany.)  Unlike Graham, however, Poole plays downhill and seems to diagnose quickly.

I think Poole could play either weakside linebacker or middle linebacker.  He's an excellent tackler and wades through the trash well.  Much like Graham, it seems like Poole would fit best as a good two-down weakside 'backer.  He blitzes well and he's a good run stopper, but I expect Mattison to use nickel corners (a position that disappeared the last few seasons) in obvious passing situations, and Poole might be lifted when offenses try to spread the field.

This gives Michigan 16 commits for the class of 2011.  Linebackers Frank Clark and Leilon Willingham are rumored to be silent pledges, so Michigan should be done at the linebacker positions.  There should be four or five scholarships left to use in this class, which will likely be used on a couple offensive linemen , a defensive tackle, a running back, and perhaps a fullback.

TTB Rating: 82


  1. Thunder,

    Who would you rather sign with Michigan, Nowicki or Fisher?

    Its tough for me to say because all the film I've seen on Fisher is at TE. I think Nowicki is a big-time prospect. He has good size and flattens people, not saying Fisher can't or won't. If I had a choice I'd probably say Nowicki.

  2. @ 912Jeff 12:47 p.m.

    I'm not all that impressed with Nowicki. His film is full of him pulling and destroying a bunch of 200-pound defensive ends. If you're 6'5" and 270 lbs., you SHOULD be destroying some of those tiny guys. But overall, I'm not impressed with Nowicki's footwork and athleticism. I'd prefer Fisher, who's a better overall athlete and whose footwork is a little more aggressive.

  3. wen r u gonna start including 247 rankings? i like their stuff a lot more than rivals/scout/espn.


  4. @ horn 1:22 p.m.

    I thought about it, but I just chose not to include them during this recruiting cycle. It's just too late in the game right now. Maybe once National Signing Day comes and goes, I'll use 247 more for the 2012 class.

  5. Poole reminds me much more of Ian Gold than he does of Graham. Fast, similar body, high motor, plays 'downhill' alot...Lloyd and company used Gold on blitzes effectively... see Poole do the same for GMatt.

  6. @ Anonymous 5:32 p.m.

    Eh, I can see the Gold comparison a little bit...

    But I watched Gold play when he was in high school. He mostly played running back and was EXTREMELY fast, along with a couple of his backfield teammates. Poole has pretty good speed, but he's not in Gold's category.