|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