They say that a linebacker is the quarterback of the defense, the person ultimately responsible for a unit’s success or failure. For Quentin Poling and the Ohio University Bobcats, the defensive success they’ve had (top 5 yards per game allowed in 2015) go hand in hand and people are starting to notice.
Ohio finds itself in a MAC East this season with talented teams surrounding it, but no standout clear cut front runner. In other words, with the right breaks and momentum, the MAC East is theirs to claim, but they will need performances from their stars to rise up to championship caliber level. At the top of that list is Quentin Poling. As he goes, so goes the defense, and as the defense goes, so goes Ohio’s chances for the MAC East or another bowl appearance.
MAC Player Countdown #19: Quentin Poling, LB, Ohio
Poling enters his redshirt junior season in Athens with a track record of success and two seasons of experience to lean on and improve in this year. He’s been a starter for 23 games over his two years at Ohio and has made the most of the opportunity, earning MAC East Defensive Player of the Week four times in his short career, along with CFPA National Defensive Player of the Week once during his 2014 redshirt freshman season.
He was also a standout performer in the 2015 Camelia Bowl, with 11 tackles and an INT returned for a touchdown. Not a bad way to close out your sophomore campaign and springboard into your junior season, no? Perhaps the biggest statement about Poling is how he has grown through adversity, you know, when that one thing happened back in 2015. But, Poling came through it on the other side and hasn’t had any problems since, just more evidence that he’s capable of leading Ohio through another successful year.
Why a Top 25 MACthlete?
Some players struggle with translating athletic ability to the stat sheet, but that hasn’t been a problem for Poling. Over the course of his career, he’s consistently been among the team’s best defensive threats, leading the both the 2015 and 2014 teams in tackles but also providing tackles for loss and pass coverage, the latter of which led to two INTs returned for TDs last season.
The fact that Poling can stop the run, hurry the QB, and provide good pass coverage over the middle and in the flats make him a multi-tool linebacker that offensive coordinators the conference over have to be aware of and gameplan against. In a conference where the offenses are the show, having a player with the ability to significantly interfere with the offensive operation is a tremendous benefit for Ohio.
Poling is an athlete by nature, as he was not only a football standout but also a wrestling and track letterwinner in high school. He was also in the National Honor Society, which means it’s a battle of brains versus braun.
Video Proof of Awesomeness:
Poling and the Bobcats open their season September 3rd at 3:30 on CBSSports against Texas State.