After a solid 6-1 start to his senior year, Antonio Poole and his Winton Woods high teammates have set themselves up for a special season. But they can't let their foot off the pedal just yet, there are still a few big games on the horizon.
"We really haven't done much yet, most of our season is still in front of us. But we are playing good right now, hopefully we can go all the way this year. I want to win it all. This is my last year here, I don't get another chance."
And unlike many players still at the high school level who go both ways, Antonio is true defensive player, with the right type of mindset that would flourish in the Pelini system.
"I don't play offense or anything like that. I don't really like running with the ball, catching it, or throwing it. I just like making the big hits and big plays on defense. I play a lot of middle linebacker now and some outside too.
"The strongpoint of my game is my quickness and speed, and my ability to make tackles. I love to attack the line-of-scrimmage too. I hate when people try to run right at me, when I see that hole start to open up, I go fill it. I take it personal out there."
Over a dozen schools have made offers to this point, with others surely on the way.
"I think I have around 14 offers, somewhere around there. Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State, Minnesota, Cincinnati, Syracuse, Wake Forest, Purdue, Illinois, Indiana, Louisville and a few others have offered."
I heard Nebraska has started to show strong interest in you as well.
"Yeah, I started to hear a lot from them about two or three weeks ago. They were just sending me mail, then the Nebraska coaches called up to my school to talk to my coaches."
Have you had any contact with anyone from the Nebraska staff yet?
"Not a lot yet, but I saw their coaches at my game this week. I thought that was pretty cool they (NU coaches) would come all the way up here and watch me play Friday night," said Poole. "I know they just played the night before against Kansas State.
"I can't remember his name right now, I think it was the linebacker coach from Nebraska. I think he was there to get some of my game tape, and transcripts maybe. I was coming through the gate for my game, and I saw him over there on the sideline."
Did you watch any of the Nebraska/KSU game from the night before?
sir, I did. Their defense is top notch. I couldn't believe how well
that junior college linebacker, number 4 (LaVonte David), was playing.
He was playing sideline-to-sideline like me. That's what I do, that's my
"I was sitting there thinking, I could be that guy, in that defense. That guy is just a monster, I could be that kind of player for them. That dude already looks like a top draft pick.
"I want to play somewhere that's special, and that Nebraska defense is. I would love to be a part of something like that."
Have the Huskers made an offer to you yet?
"I think they told my coach I have a verbal right now, until the head coach watches my game film. But it sounds like it could happen pretty soon. I'll talk to my coach later this week about it and find out."
What about your recruitment, have you been on any official visits yet?
"Not yet, but I will next weekend to Purdue. I've already been on a couple unofficial visits though. Like one to O (Ohio) State, Purdue and Cincinnati."
Are there any early leaders, or would you consider yourself wide open?
"Nothing is set right now, I have no favorites. I feel like I could go anywhere, wherever the best fit is, you know?"
How do you see your recruitment playing out, will you decided before the New Year, or will you pull the trigger closer to signing day?
"I'm going to wait things out a little bit, but not too long. If I get on a campus, and I could really see myself there, I'll have no problem committing. At the same time I want to take more than one visit so I can compare one school to the other. I have that one visit set up to Purdue next weekend, but that's it right now."
Would you like to take one of your five allotted visits to Nebraska?
"No doubt, I would."
What is your decision going to come down to? What would you say are the most important qualities a university must have for them to land your commitment?
"Most important will be a school with good academics, and do their players graduate? And like most recruits, I just want to feel comfortable on the campus and around the players and coaches.
"A winning program would be nice too, I want to go somewhere we can compete for a National Championship. Just a good fit, academically and athletically."
Will distance from home factor in at all?
"No," Poole flatly stated.
Antonio was unsure of his stats to this point, other than leading his team in tackles and tackles for loss. He was also aware of Nebraska's move to the Big Ten conference starting next season, saying "Yeah, I have heard about that, and it's a good thing. They'll be playing games around here, closer to my friends and family."
Big Red Report will touch base with Antonio, and his head coach, this week to check the status of the Nebraska written offer.