Photo via Stu Mair, The Red Ledger

 
First things first, I really appreciate when recruits have great “Football Names” and without a doubt, Bumper Pool has got to be one of the greatest linebacker names to ever be penciled into a starting lineup. So without going any further, I want to say kudos to Pool’s parents for setting him up for endless endorsement deals if he makes it to the NFL.

But I digress, Bumper is the 6’2”, 215 pound starting middle linebacker for Lucas Lovejoy. While not small by any means, size is not one of Bumper’s selling points. He’s about as well equipped physically as any other linebacker at the high school level, but what sets him apart is his split second decision making ability and his lightning fast footwork.

Right from the first play, I watched I knew that Bumper deserved every single one of the four stars he has accrued thus far and is one of the very few players I believe deserves a 5-star rating. But as anyone knows when it comes to recruiting in high school football, a lot more goes into “star ratings” than pure playing ability. Bumper has some of the best backfield awareness of any linebacker I’ve seen so far in the class of 2018. On some plays it looks like he knows what the back is going to do even before the back himself does.

But this awareness on its own is not what makes Bumper a scary player, it’s his ability to make these decisions and then carry out his will with split second reaction time. And on top of that Pool knows how to use his hands better than the vast majority of recruits his same age, many times it looks like he goes untouched simply because he doesn’t allow blockers to get within arm’s length of him.

This is the part of the article where I usually try to find things I don’t like about certain recruits and try to portray things that might cause certain recruits problems at the next level. But I’m hard pressed to find a thing I don’t like about Pool. While it’s true that there’s always room for improvement when it comes to technique, Pool is already miles ahead of his peers in the class of 2018.

The only thing I can really find is that in order to be a freak at the next level he needs to put on about 15-20 pounds of muscle, this added power will burn him into the subconscious of offensive coordinators across the NCAA. Whoever convinced Pool to spend his college years in Fayetteville needs to give himself a giant pat on the back for this one.

 

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