UF football gets pledge from four-star cornerback

Published: Monday, June 13, 2011 at 9:01 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 13, 2011 at 9:01 p.m.

Brian Poole wasn't really worried after he needed surgery to repair a broken bone in his right ankle. But he sure appreciated the way Florida football coaches supported him through the process.

That loyalty paid off for the Florida coaching staff on Monday when Poole, one of the top high school cornerbacks in the country, gave them his verbal commitment.

“That definitely had something to do with it,” Poole said. “They checked on me a lot.”

The Bradenton Southeast cornerback became Florida's 11th verbal commitment. He is widely regarded as a very physical player at 5-foot-11, 187 pounds.

“He's one of the better players we've ever had,” Southeast coach Paul Maechtle said. “I think he's got the whole package as far as a defensive back is concerned. He's thicker than most guys would be in high school. Every coach that came in in the spring and looked at him couldn't believe how wide he was from shoulder to shoulder. And then when you watch him play, he does a lot of things with ease.

“He's got tremendous hands, great hand-eye coordination. So when the ball goes up in the air, he's got a good chance to get it. He's started since he was a freshman. He's got great cover skills. He's physical against the run. He plays real hard. He's got a great first 20-yard burst, so he can stay with guys. He's real good with his hands in man coverage. And he doesn't mind tackling, that's a real nice thing about him.”

Poole thought he had sprained his ankle during Southeast's spring game on May 27. Eventually he was advised to get an operation.

“What we were told,” Maechtle said, “was that one of the (Tampa Bay) Buccaneer doctors saw him and said it was an injury they see in combines an awful lot where the kids do not have it surgically repaired and they run into more problems with it because they did not have it surgically repaired. Plus, when it's surgically repaired the rehab is faster than if you just let it heal.”

Poole, who had surgery on June 2, is expected to require six-to-eight weeks to fully heal, but he is optimistic.

“In two weeks I'll be 100 percent,” he said. “I'm pretty much healed up now.”

Poole joins Hallandale's Willie Bailey to give UF two defensive backs in the growing class of 2012.

The class, which was recently given an early rating of No. 5 in the nation by ESPN, is sure to improve with Poole's pledge. He is rated a four-star player by Rivals and Scout, the latter having him pegged as the No. 2 cornerback in the nation.

“The biggest thing in my decision was my position coach, which is Travaris Robinson,” Poole said. “Me and him got a great relationship and it just felt right. I wanted to get this out of the way so I could focus on my senior year and training this summer.

“I grew up a Gator fan my whole life, so it just feels great. I'm very, very excited.”

Poole met Robinson during a Junior Day visit in February and came close to committing then. He chose to wait through spring football, and Florida never had any serious competition from other schools.

Now Poole is looking forward to helping his new team fill out its next class.

“I'm really, really excited about (recruiting other players to Florida),” Poole said. “A lot of guys have been calling me to recruit me, so that helped me out with my decision. Matt Jones, everybody mentions (Seffner Armwood running back) Matt Jones and he was recruiting real hard. He's a good recruiter. He's almost like another coach recruiting.”

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