TomVH: Antonio Poole Excited for The Big 33

Submitted by TomVH on June 15th, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Defense was a huge priority for Brady Hoke the second he stepped on the recruiting trail for Michigan. That was made apparent when four of his first six commitments for the 2011 class were defensive players. Cincinnati linebacker Antonio Poole was one of those commitments despite not receiving an offer from the previous Michigan coaches. Poole was a name that frequently came up throughout the recruiting process and that fans were happy to see on the Wolverine commitment list.

As the days get closer for Antonio to step on campus and make an impact, he still has one more big game to prepare for. Along with Michigan signees LB Frank Clark and DE Keith Heitzman, Poole was selected to play in the annual Big 33 game that puts the best high school players from Ohio against the best that Pennsylvania has to offer. "You have to be nominated by someone like a coach, and then they choose the best players from the nominations," said Poole. 

The game is his main focus right now, but it has given him a chance to connect with his future teammates Clark and Heitzman. "We've been focused on the game and trying to win, but we have been talking about Michigan too," he said. "Frank is actually playing defensive end, linebacker, and some safety; he's really athletic. Keith has been doing pretty good, too, they're both really good." Antonio will be lined up as a MIKE linebacker so there's a chance for all three to be on the field at the same time.

The Big 33 is an honor for Antonio and he's excited about being able to represent his state, but it's also an excellent opportunity for him to prepare for better competition at the next level. "I think this will help me get better, help me to go up against better competition and get myself prepared to make an impact once I get [to Michigan]," said Poole. 

The preparation and competition is only one aspect of how he's getting himself ready to compete at Michigan. The biggest change for Poole was probably his new workout program he received once he signed his LOI. "When I first got the exercise book I didn't even know how to do some of them, so it was kind of hard," he said. "The running stuff I knew how to do that, and I think I've built up a lot of stamina from the workouts. I've gotten a lot faster and I'm up to 220 pounds now." The coaches will probably have him play around 225 as a freshman so he's almost at his ideal weight.

The Big 33 game has some great tradition behind it, and has seen some outstanding players in their past years. Both are aspects of Michigan that Antonio is recognizing by comparison. "This game is going to be on TV so it's a big stage. After this I'm just excited to get on the field and play in the Big House, even bigger stage. I want to bring the winning back to Michigan and the tradition back to what it was," said Poole. As a versatile linebacker that can play either WILL or MIKE, Poole will have every opportunity to compete for a starting spot to help Michigan back to prominence. 

The Big 33 will be played on Saturday June 18th at 7:00pm EST. More information on the game can be found here.



June 15th, 2011 at 11:44 AM ^

Great that you are keeping tabs on incoming recruits along with your essential recruiting work.  It will be interesting to see what position Frank Clark winds up playing - I'm guessing tight end.

Dennis Talbott…

June 15th, 2011 at 11:53 AM ^

Wow, the fact that Clark has been alternating between DE and S is impressive, it shows he has athletic versatility, and a head for the game.  Safeties have to know exactly what is happening on the field so they do not end up out of position... A problem we know all too well as Michigan fans.  If I had to guess though, I think he ends up as a TE for us with all these other defensive prospects coming in, especially if we don't give Moore a scholarship as a fifth year senior.


June 15th, 2011 at 11:52 AM ^

Just curious Tom, why doesn't this workout "book" from any college make it's way into high schools earlier. It would seem to make thus kids that much more ready to start early.


June 15th, 2011 at 11:56 AM ^

Signing an LOI locks them in so they can't decommit or anything. If you give them that book before hand they still have the opportunity to decommit or sign elsewhere. They then have all your workouts and plans for them and they're not even going to your school. It would be a waste to do that, and giving it to them a few months ahead of that wouldn't be that big of an advantage.


June 15th, 2011 at 12:07 PM ^

My bad I wasn't clear. I meant why don't HS coaches/programs adopt these college workout principles for the players starting as freshman?
Oh and thanks for all you do here - in case you don't hear it enough.


June 15th, 2011 at 12:32 PM ^

They sometimes do.  My high school coach had a workout book that he ripped off from the Nebraska Cornhuskers sometime in the 90's.  It was difficult for many highschoolers to use and in college you have an entire S+C staff helping you and checking your weights, in high school it was a bit over kill IMO.


June 15th, 2011 at 12:39 PM ^

As JensenCoach said above, high school coaches simply don't have the resources to implement college training plans.  You're typically dealing with older equipment, small workout spaces, bad weather in the winter (unless you live in the south), a shortage of coaches, players who play other sports, etc.

There's only so much you can do when you have 50 players jammed into a 500-square-foot room with 15-year-old equipment, the girls basketball team taking up gym space, and snow on the ground outside.


June 15th, 2011 at 1:38 PM ^

Thanks, I figured that but good to have the answer from people with actual knowledge.
I wonder if this explains why the star rankings are often wrong for lower stars? Lesser facilities = less physically developed = lower star.
Some of these schools here in SEC country have pretty nice facilities.
Also thanks to you as well for your time and input - actual knowledge/experience makes this blog go


June 15th, 2011 at 12:48 PM ^

i have been so wrapped up with 2012 recruits, i had lost touch with 2011's who will be on campus in just a few weeks.

time to relax with a few of my old favorite Hello: posts


June 15th, 2011 at 5:10 PM ^

Well, Morgan looks like a MIKE to me, so that leaves Jones and Poole.  But I did read that Mattison still wanted Jones to play MIKE despite the fact that Jones isn't very big, so I'm going to go with Poole.

If both Jones and Poole were headed for WILL, I would honestly be split 50/50 between them.  I think Poole might be a little better of an athlete, but Jones looks like he really thinks the game (and is still a good athlete).


June 15th, 2011 at 2:25 PM ^

I join in appreciating your reminding us of the guys who are almost here as a verified part of the team and letting us share their excitement.  Alleviates some of the angst and obsession with the high school kids who may or may not join them a year or so from now.