By Pete Nakos
OhioBobcats.com Feature Writer
Quentin Poling was selected by the Miami Dolphins with the 227th pick in the seventh round on Saturday night in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Poling, a former Bobcat linebacker and four-year starter, was the first and only Ohio football player drafted this year. He's the program's all-time leader in solo tackles and surely left his mark in Athens, one that won't be forgotten anytime soon.
Coach Frank Solich is always happy to talk about Poling. The coach isn't one to reveal favorites, but whenever Poling's name is mentioned in a press conference he's quick to flash a smile.
This is because Poling's the type of football player that Solich hopes all his players will be. Tough and a hard worker, it doesn't take a lot for Poling to get excited to play football. One of Solich's favorite stories of the linebacker was when he would pop into the coach's office at the start of a game week and ask if the coach was ready to go.
"He gives football everything he's got," Solich said after Poling's last game at Peden Stadium. "He loves the game, and it shows in how he plays, prepares and leads."
"He's got the whole makeup that you look for. He's been able to keep himself on the field and play through injuries that most guys would not be on the field with. I'm just so proud of him and what he's been able to accomplish through his career here and what he's meant to this football team."
Poling was a two-star recruit from Gomer, Ohio, a town with a population of just 102 people. At Ohio, he was a two-time First Team All-Mid-American Conference and developed into one of the best linebackers in program history.
His signature moment came last season against Toledo in a 38-10 rout. On the first play from scrimmage, Poling sacked quarterback Logan Woodside, setting the tone for the rest of the game.
For a game that many thought would be a high-scoring affair, Poling and the Ohio defense held Toledo to a season-low 10 points. Toledo could only cough up 57 rushing yards, too.
Poling finished the night with 12 tackles, including three tackles for loss, bringing his career total to 44.0, a program record.
He wasn't invited to the NFL Combine this year, but it didn't hinder him from reaching his career goal of playing in the NFL. Instead, he showed off to scouts at his Pro Day in Walter Fieldhouse.
"There's always going to be doubts and people not believing in you, people who don't know you or have seen what you can do," he said after his workout in mid-March. "I came out here and had the opportunity to prove myself, and I did."
Poling joins linebacker Jerome Baker from Ohio State as the two linebackers in the Dolphins draft class. The two join a franchise looking to revamp their defense after a 6-10 finish in 2017.
Those in Athens, however, will know the type of player the Dolphins are getting out of their selection: gritty, disciplined and vivacious.
"He has been tremendous at being a leader and a player," Solich said. "He is a bright guy and loves the game, and both of those show during practice and in the game. He is very attentive in meetings; he took our defense and organized some meetings for them during game weeks to watch film on their own.
"He is as good as it gets in that area."