Coming out of Bradenton Southeast high school, Brian Poole was one of the top cornerbacks in the nation. He was highly regarded at his position as an Under Armour High School All American. Poole could have chosen to play football anywhere in the country, turning down the likes of Alabama, Florida State and Georgia, but he chose to become a Gator and be a part of a strong foundation that makes up the Florida defense today.
In today’s culture of football, players like Poole can quickly get puffed up; all the promises that are given to high school recruits are borderline ridiculous and they often choose to transfer than to work hard and wait their turn. Our appreciation for Poole should not be for just his play on the field, but for his willingness to do whatever it takes to win.
Poole is a part of a special senior class, that when they arrived found themselves in the midst of an 11-2 season and looked like they would be on the way to great things. Quickly, all that went downhill with a 4-8 campaign in 2013, to only see their coach fired the next season. Poole has seen many ups and down during his years at Florida, but he was one of the guys that continued to work and do their job, regardless of the accolades.
With the likes of Vernon Hargreaves III, Jalen Tabor, Quincy Wilson, Keanu Neal and Marcus Maye, Poole can sometimes get lost in the shuffle, but he has actually been the one of the ones to make the Florida secondary what it is today. Instead of playing on the outside like most cornerbacks desire to do, Poole was placed at the nickel position and he has thrived since the transition. He may never get the spotlight that Vernon or Jalen may get, but he should not be overlooked when it comes to playmaking.
In his career Poole has totaled 6 interceptions, 23 pass break ups, 113 tackles — 68 of those unassisted. He has been a productive player for the Gators and will be missed. College football has changed with so many spread offenses, and teams chucking the ball all over the field, players like Poole have become a hot commodity and can make a good defense, great. His ability to be versatile has given the Gators a unique attack that allows them to defend any style offense.
Poole has been about work and production. That has been his attitude before stepping one foot on the Florida campus. In an interview with our own Andrew Spivey back in April 2012 , when asked what message he wanted to send the Gator fans, he gave a clear answer.
“I’m ready to get in and get to work for the Gators.”
That message has come through loud and clear. He is the type of player that programs are built on — players that provide an example of leadership in their actions and their consistency of performance on and off the field.
When number 24 comes through that tunnel once last time Saturday night, we don’t have to worry about if he will be ready to play or if he will do his job. Often times the players that are consistent are the ones less talked about, they do their job so well, and they get hidden behind their quality of play. Poole has been just that. Poole may not get a pick six this weekend or make a hit that rocks the stadium, but one thing is for sure, he will be there to do what he needs to do for the Gators to win. He will be there to do work!