He saw action as a true freshman backup in 2008, recording 86 yards on 22 carries (3.9). Poole was again a reserve in 2009 as a sophomore, finishing with 85 yards on 10 rushes (8.5).
He started all 13 games in 2010 as a junior and had his best season, recording a team-high 1,034 yards on 204 carries (5.1) and 11 touchdowns, adding 22 catches for 171 yards (7.8) and one touchdown, earning All-SEC Honorable Mention honors.
Poole broke onto the scene as a junior, starting all 12 games. He became the 15th player to eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark in single season for Tennessee and had the only 100-yard rushing performance against Alabama's defense in a 58-game span.
However, he had an uninspiring 2011 season as the only senior starter on offense and produced inconsistent stats on the ground. He finished with 693 yards on 187 carries (3.7) and five touchdowns, adding 21 receptions for 164 yards (7.8).
Poole is an average athlete with good footwork, but doesn't possess any special or distinguishing qualities and looks like a borderline draftable running back.
Strengths: Balanced runner with average athleticism and agility. He has a thick lower half with solid build throughout his frame. Poole is a physical runner and hits the hole with authority, lowering his head and picking up the tough yards.
He runs with good pad level and always seems to be falling forward for positive yardage. Poole has quick feet with good vision to pick through defenses. He has solid hands and body control as a reliable pass catcher.
Weaknesses: Poole needs to show better patience to allow blocks to develop and is too often running up the backs of his blockers. He isn't naturally explosive as a runner and lacks elusiveness in the open field. Poole doesn't possess any dynamic qualities. He needs a few steps to get going with limited burst and foot speed.
Poole has an inconsistent feel eluding tacklers and doesn't create a lot on his own. He doesn't display much power to push the pile or consistently break tackles.
Marginal base strength in pass protection and no experience as a return man. He had a few injuries, most notably a tender hamstring, that caused him to miss some playing time. Poole had a subpar senior season, failing to match his numbers from 2010 and was benched at times due to ineffectiveness.
NFL Comparison: Lance Ball, Denver Broncos."
-- Dane Brugler
At times makes some poor decisions as a runner, typically in space, but for the most part is pretty dependable. Is a one-cut back who is a bit tight in the hips when he gets up to full speed, more of a weaver when asked to run in space. However, inside he keeps his feet under him, can stick his foot in the ground and explode quickly up field.
Does a good job finishing runs and lowing his pad level in short yardage /goal line situations. But inside, he runs a bit upright. Doesn’t run with great forward lean when pressing the hole and at times gets knocked off balance and goes down far too easy.
Nevertheless, runs hard and has the type of straight-line speed at the second level to outpace angles and create yards by the chunk. Doesn’t have a ton of wiggle to his game, is better off running toward space in the open field. But in tight area displays enough short area quickness and power to side step a defender and break a tackle.
I came away impressed with his ability on 3rd downs as well. Is an intelligent blocker, recognizes blitz pick-up quickly, is patient into blocks and displays natural anchor strength. Also, demonstrates a good feel in the pass game, has some savvy as a route runner, locates the ball quickly and will pluck/create in the short passing game when matched up on linebackers.
Impression: A thick, strong back who runs hard and displays natural one-cut ability. Runs a bit high and isn’t overly fluid making defenders miss. But can break tackles, play on third down and looks like a solid contributing NFL back."
Runs with good pad level and vision between the tackles — can pick and slide and work his way through traffic with nice feet, good lateral movement, and short-area quickness.
Is tight-hipped with average speed and elusiveness, likely limiting his ceiling to that of a No. 2.
However, he is highly respected for his character and work ethic and has earned his spot atop the depth chart."
Averaged 5.1 yards per carry and caught 20 passes; also didn’t pick his spots as he ran for 162 yards against Oregon and 117 against Alabama;
Physical runner with good leg drive can break tackles and has the ability to move a pile; has good vision and quickness and something of a burst when he finds a crease, but lacks the pure foot speed to be a consistent breakaway threat at the next level; contributed on special teams early in his career and is a good student."
Good outside runner, cuts close to his blockers and has speed to outrun defenders at the next level... Solid inside runner who likes to initiate contact, finishes his runs well... Decisive, doesn't get caught behind the line much... Good vision, finds his running lane quickly and is able to make sharp cuts within the hole...
Anchors well in pass protection and hits his assignments... Good receiving ability out of the backfield, shows the versatility to contribute on all three downs... Tennessee running backs have historically transitioned well to the NFL...
A jack-of-all-trades type who doesn't do anything spectacular but is solid at almost everything... Had a great Shrine Week, looked like the best running back in attendance.
Negatives -- Not a great open field runner, doesn't have many moves at the second level and is more of a straight-line runner... Has a hard time making the first man miss... Has a tendency to try to bounce everything to the outside, doesn't dance, but will try to get to the edge too often rather than heading up field...
Battled through a hamstring injury this past year... Significantly reduced production as a senior, numbers fell across the board, only had 693 yards on the season and averaged 3.7 yards per carry after averaging 5.1 yards per carry as a junior... Not a game breaker, didn't have a single carry in 2011 over 30 yards... Struggled against premier competition, had rushing outputs of 18, 7, 70, 67, and 41 yards against Florida, Georgia, LSU, Alabama and Arkansas this year."