Pooler Holds New Maryland Offer

Earlier this week, Maryland became the first and only school to extend a written offer to New Jersey outside linebacker Ben Pooler. By the looks of things though, Maryland will soon be only one of many offers for the talented Lawrenceville Prep player.

On Monday, at the Elite College Combine in New Jersey, Pooler put on an impressive display of his athleticism and football skills. He performed so well that in addition to a written offer from Maryland, he took home some hardware as well.

"I think I did well," said Pooler, who reports a personal-best 4.56 time in the 40. "I got the MVP for linebackers and I ran really well at the combine in the 40. I did well in the one-on-ones and the individual drills for linebackers."

Despite the timing of Maryland's offer, it didn't come solely from his combine performance. Maryland has been recruiting the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Pooler since last year.

"[It wasn't] just the combine because I went to their camp last year and I have been to Maryland previously a couple times so I think they had a good feel for how I ran and how I improved this year."

After his combine performance, Pooler's recruitment is heating up. According to him, some of the schools he's hearing from include Maryland, Virginia, Boston College, Michigan, Syracuse, Kansas State, Wake Forest, Louisville, and Rutgers.

"I think my stock went up," he said. "I know my name was out there I guess. People said I passed the eye test but now colleges have no doubt that I can run too and I can cover."

With Maryland's continued recruitment of Pooler, his visits to College Park, and the Terrapins being his first offer, Pooler has become familiar with the Maryland program and it is not surprising to hear he is high on Maryland.

"I like their system and I like how intense the coaches are," he said. "Academics are important and that's one of the most important things you look for in schools. I like how they play. I like their intensity and how they approach every game.

"I always was a fan of Maryland because some of the players from my school went to Maryland and I feel comfortable there, but I feel that I have to be impartial. I like Maryland a lot but I like other schools too. I like UVA a lot. Boston College is also a great place. These are all places I've seen."

With his recruitment now heating up, Pooler says he is going to let things sort themselves out over the summer and see where different schools stand with him.

"Maybe by the end of summer I'll start to narrow it down because by then I'll know for sure who's really interested and who's not. I'll have a better feel for schools by the end of summer probably."

In the meantime, Pooler has certain aspects of schools in mind when he makes campus visits.

"On the field of course I look for how they approach the game – like intensity," he said. "I know intensity is a big part of how I play. I love football and I'm really intense when I get on the field. I like to look for a system that fits an outside linebacker obviously. I look for how the coaches interact with the players and the player/coach relationship. Off the field I look for a place where I feel I'd fit in well socially and an area that's not too far from home because I want my parents and my family to be able to come and see me play. Obviously I want to go to a school that is a good school as well as a good football program."

We asked Pooler to discuss what he considered his strengths and areas he'd like to improve on the football field.

"I think my strengths have to do with my size and my speed and quickness for a big guy. My instincts – a lot of the things I do well just come naturally to me. My intensity as well. I want to get faster. I want to get my 40 time down to a 4.5 flat and I want to be stronger and I want my team to win more games."

As a junior, Pooler reports he rushed for 716 yards and racked up 50 tackles and five sacks while netting All-State Prep honors for his performance.

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