Chaminade Julienne (Dayton, Ohio) head coach Marcus Colvin commented on 6-foot-3, 270-pound defensive tackle Jeffery Pooler, who committed to Maryland May 16. Here is our question-and-answer session with Colvin.
Terrapin Times: I guess the first question I have, Coach, is that when I spoke to Jeff previously he gave no indication he was ready to commit so soon, and then all of a sudden in the last week or two he's hinting he's getting ready to end the process. Were you surprised he ended it this early?
Marcus Colvin: I'll tell you what, over the course of the last month he’s really blown up. It's been hard work for he and I to keep on top of it [the recruiting] and try to figure out who to explore and what to really investigate. In my last conversation with him, we were talking about just narrowing it down by the summer, but the offers kept coming and there's still a lot of interest.
We talked and I asked him to start thinking about, if you had to pick five schools to go to this summer, rank them and list where you want to go to. Maryland obviously was at the top, and I can probably tell you this too -- Jeffrey was a little overwhelmed with the process. I've been a head coach for a long time, four years here, and we've had some really good players. We had a kid go to West Virginia, a kid go to Air Force, and no kid has kept me busier the last month than Jeffery with recruiting.
So I think he just felt comfortable with Maryland, and Coach Stud [Greg Studrawa] does a great job recruiting, and Maryland is obviously Big Ten and a really good school. It's just a neat opportunity.
I wasn't aware that he was going to end the process so abruptly, but I'm not surprised he did. I kind of figured he'd commit to Maryland sometime soon.
TT: You mentioned Coach Stud, and Jeff couldn't say enough about him whenever I spoke to him. What was Coach Stud like in the process dealing with Jeff and yourself as well?
MC: To be honest I had never had any contact with Maryland before. I have a lot of respect for Coach [Randy] Edsall and when he got the job at Maryland, I thought, wow, that's a really good job for him. So he gave me a call and said we're going to come in.
And then Coach Stud, he came in, and he came in again. He's a really engaging, personable guy. There are guys you look at in this coaching field, and it's tough, but they really work at it. They do it the right way, and [Studrawa] does that and it shined through.
He and Jeffery developed a really close relationship, and there's a lot of respect on both sides. He made Jeffrey and his parents feel very comfortable, and, again just the opportunity to play at Maryland in the Big Ten. They're going to be really good soon. So that and the relationship with Coach Stud, that's two of the main reasons Jeff made his decision.
TT: Now, did you advise Jeff to visit Maryland first before committing? I know most times coaches and recruits like to see a school first-hand before committing. Now I know Jeff has family in the area and has been on campus before, but he hasn't seen all the ins and outs yet.
MC: I'm with you there. I did advise him that I wanted him to get to five schools this summer. I think he was going to an Ohio Sate camp, but I wasn't really interested in him going camping. I was more interested in him going to visit five schools and see what he thought.
But I think he sees the opportunity at Maryland, the Big Ten, it’s a good school, it's well respected, and Coach Stud did a great job with him. I really had a feeling Maryland was going to be his decision. I was surprised he made the decision so soon, but I'm not surprised he made the decision.
I think he obviously will go see Maryland this summer, and I think he'll probably be even more excited about what's going on there.
TT: Can you give us a little breakdown of what Jeff does well on the field and also what he still needs to work on?
MC: He finished his junior year at 6-1, 245 pounds and now he’ 6-3, 270. He’s a big kid, a big body, and he’s hard to move. We, defensively, we’re always triyng to figure out, What is the offense trying to get done? And what can we do to get out best defensive player -- and that's Jeff Pooler -- to make it most challenging for the offense? So we'll play Jeffery over the tight end, the five technique, the three technique. We play him all over the board just as a way for us to get our best player in the middle of the action.
He does a great job playing with his hands, he’s very athletic. He’s impressive the way he moves laterally and runs well. All those things, he's got a lot of upside. But obviously, going to play at Maryland, that's big boy football, so one thing he has to continue to work on is his hip bend and low pad level. There are times he tries to make every play and puts his body out of position, getting nosy and peeking.
But making sure that hip level, pad level stays low, that's the main thing he needs to work on to be successful. But I think Maryland is going to coach the crap out of him with that, and it's something he's working on all this offseason.
TT: How did Jeff develop from his freshman year to heading into his senior year now?
MC: He actually didn’t attend Chaminade Julienne his freshman year; he attended a local city school. But his mom made the decision to bring him over, which I'm obviously happy about. He's excelled, but his first day in the weight room his sophomore year, I remember I was really excited when I saw this kid walk in. He had a big butt, big chest. So we put some weight on a barbell, and put him underneath to do some back squats. He couldn’t bend his hips, so we just put the bar on there and he still couldn't bend his hips. Then we took the bar away and just had him sit on a chair and stand up.
So we went from there, really trying to teach the squat and the balance, and now the kid is an almost 300 pound bencher and 400 pound squatter. In terms of development, the kid just worked in the weight room. Probably the most importatnt part of his development was his weight-room development. And then god just took care of his body.
And Jeff isn’t done growing. He's still got a baby face, and he's still getting taller and bigger. But his development in the weight room really helped propel his abilities on the football field. Then just his ability to take to coaching, that definitely helped.
And, you know, Jeff started as a sophomore for us on varsity and he got really good. Obviously he was our best player defensively last year for us, and I have no doubt next year he’ll be first-team all-state.
TT: Was there a play Jeff made that can sort of illustrate what kind of a player he's become?
MC: There was one play last season, we ended up losing the game, but we were playing a team that was 9-1 and won their league. They had a really good quarterback who was an unbelievable athlete, and they do a really good job running some option plays. And Jeffrey was supposed to play the dive. He was supposed to get off the block, read it and go down on the dive.
And we always tell him, 'Do your read. You will get the tackle if you play the dive, we don't want you coming off and chasing the quarterback.' Well, the quarterback had been killing us, and Jeffrey goes for the dive and hits the fullback. The quarterback pulls the ball back, but Jeffrey redirects, flattens out and starts chasing down this really athletic quarterback and tackles him. It was a huge play, because it was a 3rd-and-5 and they had to punt, giving us a chance to possibly win that game.
But that was a play where I was like, 'Wow, he did something majorly athletic.' Just his ability to change directions and run, I told him that was my favorite highlight of his.
TT: Back to recruiting here for a second Coach. I was wondering, do you know why some of the local programs around like a Cincinnati or even a Michigan State, and Ohio State, a Michigan didn't offer Jeff? What was the reservation there?
MC: Cincinnati was in. I was surprised UC never pulled the trigger. I guess I wasn’t surprised Michigan State or Ohio State didn't. Every school is different. Some schools offer early, some schools wait until the summer and some wait to see senior film.
I guess, I look at like, the kid had 10 offers and 10 really good schools, and we were just thankful we had that many colleges that were interested in him. I don't really have an answer for why UC or some of the others didn't pull the trigger, but we're just happy he got the interest he did.
TT: Coach, just from talking to Jeff, he seems like a really relatable, personable kid. What's he like around his teammates and in school?
MC: Well, I have 70 kids in my program and I love them all, but there's also times when they get on my nerves and do some things that make me shake my head (laughs). But here's the thing about Jeffery -- he has a 3.8 GPA. He goes to a fabulous high school that's really challenging, and he's done a great job obviously with football and god has really taken care of his body.
But I'm most proud of his academic focus and how he works in the classroom. When you work hard in the weight room, on the football field and give your best in the classroom, things tend to work out for you.
But he's a great kid, and really engaging. He's going to be a success in life no matter what course that will be, whether it's in the business world or playing in the NFL. I have no doubt the kid's ability in life, simply because of his focus.
TT: Last question Coach. What kind of potential do you think Jeff has in the next few years?
MC: I think he’s got enormous potential. He’s really just a late bloomer, but how he’s grown the last six months has been unbelievable. He’s definitely an inside guy, a 3-technique. I think he can be 290, 300 pounds and still be very mobile. I think he’s still growing, so he's going to have the body to give him a chance to maybe seen an opportunity at the next level [NFL]. If he can stay healthy and continue to work and focus the way he has his high school career, he has major upside. Major upside.
I'm biased, but I think my kid is really good. I think he's really talented, I think his upside is enormous and I think he's going to be really good. But, like I said before, if football doesn't work out in the end he's going to be OK, because of the work he does in the classroom.
Coach Speak: Marcus Colvin on Jeff Pooler
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