Defensive tackle Jeffery Pooler (Chaminade Julienne/Dayton/Ohio) has lived in Ohio all his life, but he’s quite familiar with the state of Maryland. Evidently his uncles and cousins all grew up in, and currently live in, Baltimore and its surrounding areas, giving the 6-foot-4, 275-pounder plenty of reasons to venture down every summer.
So, when the University Of Maryland, which is just 40 minutes south of Baltimore, decided to offer Pooler an athletic scholarship, well, it was like his hometown school had just anted up.
“Maryland is like a second home to me,” said Pooler, who holds scholarship offers from UMD, Uconn, Western Michigan, Air Force, Toledo, Ohio and others. “I’m very familiar with the area and I love it down there. I go there a lot to visit, and I’ve actually been around [the University of] Maryland before too. I’ve driven through the campus, and it’s beautiful. Last year I was there over spring break and I loved it. So I’m definitely very comfortable down in Maryland.”
So much so that Pooler decided to end his recruitment a couple months early, committing to the Terps May 16.He said he had tired of the visit/recruiting process and wanted to focus on learning his high school team’s new defense and offense instead of taking weekends off to travel.
“Honestly, I knew I was going to Maryland anyway, so why wait?” said Pooler, who added his UMD verbal in April. “The coaches there are great, they have some great recruits coming in, the new facilities are going to be awesome, and they play in the Big Ten. What’s not to like about Maryland?”
Pooler said the Terps’ staff put the full-court press on, which was the main reason he had UMD front and center. His area recruiter, Greg Studrawa, stopped by Chaminade Julienne twice since the evaluation period, while head coach Randy Edsall and defensive line coach Chad Wilt have been in touch as well.
“The Maryland coaches are great guys, great guys, and they’re very honest with you,” Pooler said. “That’s what I like best about them, how honest they are. They’re not going to tell you things you want to hear; they tell you things you need to hear.
“Coach Wilt, like he was really straight up with me. He didn’t guarantee me anything. He said, ‘This is what you have to do to get better and I’m not going to put you out there if you’re not ready.’ He was telling me how I have to work for my spot. And Coach Edsall, he hits me on Twitter and I called him a couple time. He’s just like Coach Wilt; he tells me he likes what I can do, but he’s saying I have to earn my keep there.”
It’s Studrawa, though, that Pooler has the best relationship with. The Ohio defensive tackle said he appreciated how Maryland’s O-line coach visited his school twice in one week and stayed in touch on a near-everyday basis.
“Coach Stud and I talk all the time, all the time,” Pooler said. “He was up here twice to see me, and he showed he really wanted me. And he always asks me how I’m doing, how my family is doing and things like that. He made me feel real comfortable, and he told me a lot of things about Maryland that I liked.”
In particular, the new facility upgrades and the school’s academic reputation.
“Coach Stud was telling me how Maryland ranks like second in the country in player graduation rates, and how the guys that graduate from there have really high salaries coming out,” Pooler said. “So that, to me, was very impressive. Then he was showing me these videos of the new Cole Field House, the $155 million facility they’re building. Now, let me tell you, that’s going to be great. It’s going to be off the hook. I can’t wait to see that thing.”
In addition to the staff, Pooler heard from several of his peers as well. He said he spoke to quarterback Dwayne Haskins (Bullis/Potomac, Md.), a recent UMD pledge, as well as another Ohio native who just visited College Park, Md., Tommy Carnifax (Howland/Warren, Ohio).
“Guys like Dwayne, and some other guys in their 2016 class, oh man, they’re building something there, for real,” Pooler said. “They’re trying to build something special with that 2016 class, and I want to be part of that.
“Then I talked to Tommy about Maryland, because I know he just visited there. He said he absolutely loved it, and I’m pretty sure he’s going to be on board with Maryland too. He’s checking out Kentucky, Northwestern and Duke, but he really likes Maryland. I don’t know if Northwestern is going to complicate things ,but I know he loves Maryland.”
Pooler, for his part, plans to see College Park more in-depth later this month. Besides random campus forays, he’s yet to experience the inner-workings of the football program.
“But I’ve seen enough to know that’s where I want to go,” he said. “Like I said, I’ve always wanted to play in the Big Ten, and I love the Under Armour gear they have there. Kevin Plank, the Under Armour guy, man, he gets them all the best gear. It’s sweet. And the academics, the coaches, the facilities, you can’t overlook any of that stuff. Maryland’s on the rise.”
Following a two-year gridiron hiatus, Pooler’s been on the rise the last two years as well. The Chaminade product had been playing football since he was four years old, but suffered a torn ACL in eighth grade that wiped out his final middle school season and his freshman campaign in high school. He finally laced up the pads again his sophomore year, but was admitted rusty.
“I was under the radar for awhile, but last year I came back and did really well,” said Pooler, who had 67 tackles, eight sacks, 10 hurries, six deflections and two forced fumbles. “I did a real good job getting off blocks, getting off the ball early and getting to the ball-carrier or quarterback. I still want to get to the point where I can dominate a game every play, but I feel like I’m making good progress.”
Pooler is hoping to make enough progress his senior year so he can help contribute to Maryland’s defensive line in the near future.
“Coach Wilt loves how versatile I am, and I feel like I can learn a lot under him and have a great role at Maryland,” Pooler said. “I can play hybrid end, I can play defensive tackle, I can play outside linebacker – all over. I think that’s why Maryland likes me. Now, I want to show them that I can dominate from any spot on the line.”
DL Pooler Commits To 'Second Home' UMD
TerrapinTimes Top Stories
No 17 OLB Bell Talks Five OVs, Six FinalistsATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Markquese Bell, the No. 17 outside linebacker prospect in the naiton, discusses his finalists.
Scout Football4:48 AM
Live Evaluation & Interview:Tayon Fleet-DavisCAPITOL HEIGHTS, Md. -- Potomac (Oxon Hill, Md.) traveled to Fairmont Heights (Capitol Heights, Md.) Sept. 24 for a Prince George’s County matchup. Terrapin Times was on hand to…
TerrapinTimesYesterday at 11:00 PM
Coaches Poll: Week 5Top 3 remains the same, Wisconsin jumps into top 10 after over Michigan State.
ScoutYesterday at 10:30 AM
TE Williams Dubs UM 'Team To Beat' Post VisitOWINGS MILLS, Md. – McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.) hosted Canada Prep (St. Catharines, Ontario) Sept. 24. Terrapin Times was on hand to scout and interview Canada Prep tight end…
TerrapinTimesSaturday at 12:01 PM