Two SEC East teams battling for Poole: Florida Gators recruiting

The Florida Gators recruiting board has several big name prospects on it at the defensive backs position and it’s a position of great need in 2017.

Defensive back William Poole (6-1, 175, Atlanta, GA Hapeville Charter) is one of those guys on the board and he visited the Gators in early March.

“The visit was very much anticipated, I’ve been wanting to visit Florida since last fall, but to be able to actually visit was great,” Poole said of his Florida visit earlier this month. “I got to sit down with Coach [Jim] McElwain in his office and I got to meet Coach [Torrian] Gray and really the whole staff. They brought me in and treated me like family the whole time I was down there. I loved everything about it and loved the weather down there.”

For most of the defensive backs visiting Florida this spring it’s their first chance to meet Gray but that wasn’t the case for Poole.

“I’ve met Coach Gray before when he was recruiting at Virginia Tech,” he said. “I already had a relationship with him but it wasn’t as strong because I wasn’t really interested in Virginia Tech because it was so far away. Now that he’s at Florida it kind of boosted Florida a lot because I’ve known he was a great coach. He has a history of producing good defensive backs and he’s a man that knows how to develop and coach his defensive backs.”

Gray and defensive coordinator Geoff Collins met with Poole for an extended period of time during the visit and made sure to explain the big need for defensive backs this year.

“Him and Coach Collins brought me into the coaches room and showed me the depth chart during the visit,” Poole said. “They said if everything goes right then they could have three guys leaving for the draft next year so they need guys. They gave me the impression that I could come in and make an impact if I do things right like get my body right and stuff.”

Poole had never met McElwain until the visit but the Atlanta prospect walked away with high praise for the Gators head coach.

“Coach McElwain was just telling me how bad he wanted me there,” he said. “He told me that he watched my film a few months ago and after he watched a few clips he said that he wanted to offer me. He’s a real cool guy and he’s a funny guy. I think he has the best personality out of all the coaches. We were just sitting around talking about football for about 15 minutes or so. We had a good conversation.”

Heading into the visit Georgia was starting to walk away with Poole’s recruitment but the Gators put a halt to that momentum after the visit to Gainesville.

“This visit made me way more interested in Florida,” Poole said. “It’s 50/50 between Florida and Georgia and that’s really who it’s going to come down too at the end of the day. I don’t know when I’m going to decide though because I pushed my decision back after the Florida visit.”

Poole now is setting up plans to return to Gainesville for another visit and that could happen very soon.

“It’s not a guarantee but I’m trying to find a way to visit for the spring game,” he said of his next Florida visit. “I know that I’m definitely going to come down for Friday Night Lights and for an official visit this fall.”

INSIDERS TAKE: Poole is one of the top prospects on the Florida Gators recruiting board at defensive back this year and the Gators helped their cause a great deal with the visit earlier in March. Getting Poole back down as much as possible but would be a huge plus for Florida.

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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.