January 28, 2011

Poole wanted to play for Greg Mattison

Antonio Poole's favorite player is Baltimore Ravens' linebacker Ray Lewis, so it made quite an impression on the three-star Cincinnati native when Greg Mattison - the Ravens' defensive coordinator from 2009-10 now holding the same role at Michigan - spoke with him Monday. That discussion helped lead to Poole's commitment Tuesday …

"His resume is really impressive and I couldn't give up the opportunity to be coached by him," the 6-2, 210-pound Poole said, about Mattison. "I just had this feeling with him, that I knew I could become the best player I could be if I went to Michigan."

Mattison stopped by Winton Woods High School Monday afternoon and then conducted an in-home visit with Poole, his parents and younger brother later that evening.

"He passed along a lot of information about the school and himself and the new coaching staff, where I would stand when I got there and how I can help them win a Big Ten title and put Michigan back on top like it's supposed to be," Poole said.

"Coach Mattison was just inspiring. I didn't think there was anything fake about what he was telling me. You could tell he really believes he can turn their defense into one of the best in the country and that he's going to have a job for a guy like me to help him do that."

Poole will be leaving Cincinnati later this afternoon to visit Michigan officially. He made his decision prior to his campus trip because he felt that comfortable with Mattison and the Wolverines' future.

"It's a school with great tradition but they haven't been winning the last couple years like everyone is used to," Poole said. "Coach Mattison said these coaches are 100 percent committed to bringing Michigan back to greatness and he told me they want me to be a part of that history. It's hard to say no to that."

A three-year starter for the Warriors, Poole had six sacks among 22 tackles for loss this year and 80 total stops for a Winton Woods team that went 10-2 overall. He was an AP first-team Division II all-state recipient.

As a junior, he helped lead Winton Woods to the Division II state title, recording 8.5 tackles, including one for loss, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup in a 42-12 win over Maple Heights.

Poole envisions making a similar impact someday for the Maize and Blue.

"Coach Mattison told me that once I get on campus I'll be given the opportunity to compete for a spot on this defense," said Poole, who scored an 18 on his ACT and carries a 3.4 GPA. "They're looking at me for the WILL and mostly in his defense I'll be given a lot of freedom to chase the ball and make plays. I'll have some coverage responsibilities but he wants to put me on the attack.

"He showed me some film from when he was at Michigan before and showed me how aggressive their linebackers were, just flying around the field, and said that could be me. That's exciting.

"I think I can help because I'm smart on the field. I watch a lot of film and I have a good idea of what the offense is trying to run so I can sniff out the ball and get to it quickly. I also like to play really physical on the line of scrimmage."

Poole reports his actual measurements are 6-1, 212 pounds and he said Michigan wants him to gradually grow into a linebacker that weighs about 20 pounds more.

Though he hails from a town that traditionally favors Ohio State, Poole was well supported when he announced his decision at the halftime of the Warriors' basketball game Tuesday night.

"My principal said it was a great idea and the announcer took care of most of it and then I had a jacket on and I unzipped it and had a Michigan shirt on and then I picked up a Michigan hat and put it on," Poole said. "Everyone started going nuts and was cheering for me. It was really cool."

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