College of Agriculture and College of Liberal Arts
Interdisciplinary University Studies alumnus
When Blake Poole got the chance to showcase his athletic skills to NFL scouts during Auburn football's Pro Day this spring, his outstanding performance earned the attention not only of the scouts, but of the media and Auburn family around the country. After walking on the team as a freshman, Poole was only awarded a scholarship during his final year of eligibility and played in just three games his senior season. But on Pro Day, he turned heads when he blew past some of Auburn football's most recognizable names to record the fastest 40-yard dash. While being part of a professional football team would be a dream come true for the agricultural leadership and political science graduate from northwest Georgia, Poole's life-long passion is farming. He credits his father and grandfather for instilling in him a love for agriculture, and for beef cattle in particular. Asked how he views the opportunity to spend time on an NFL practice squad—a possibility thanks to his Pro Day performance—Poole says the income would certainly help him pursue his main goal: returning to his family's farm and building a Hereford cattle herd.
1. How did you decide to attend Auburn and study agricultural leadership and political science?
After high school, I attended prep school in North Carolina and was invited to come to Auburn as a preferred walk-on football player after finishing prep school. I came down for a visit and enjoyed the campus and the overall atmosphere. I knew Auburn had a great agriculture program, and I wanted to study agriculture because that's what I want to do for a living someday. I've also been around politics my whole life because my dad and mom have served in local and state leadership roles. I thought that combining my interest in agriculture with my interest in politics would give me a chance to help farmers understand the laws that apply to their business. At the end of the day, I want to be able to help people.
2. You talk a lot about your love for farming. Why is that?
I grew up in Buchanan, Georgia, where my dad and granddad raised beef cattle. At an early age I developed a passion for raising cattle. I love working with my hands and being outside.
3. Being a student-athlete is tough. How did you balance your responsibilities to the football program with your classwork and other extracurricular activities?
When I first got to Auburn, I had to learn how to prioritize my time so that I could do my class work and football. Keeping up with my class work gave me time to focus on my football responsibilities. I would tell other students to take every opportunity to use every resource that's available to you to help you succeed.
4. Who are the three most influential people in your life, and how have they shaped who you are today?
The most influential person in my life is my dad. He has always been there for me, and I'm the person I am today because of him. He is the example of what a godly Christian man should be. The second person is Wheeler Foshee in the Auburn Department of Horticulture. He has been like my father-away-from-home, always having a word of encouragement for me and helping me to understand life. The third person is Boyd Brady with Extension, who has always given me sound advice on what I need to reach my agricultural and political goals.
5. Since your impressive performance in front of NFL scouts on Pro Day, there has been talk of a professional football career now that you have graduated. Which is more exciting to you, the thought of playing time in the NFL, or the thought of making an impact through agricultural leadership?
That's kind of a hard choice. I've devoted most of my life to football and have put so much time into it as far back as I can remember. But football can only take you so far in life, and while it would be a big honor to play at the next level, I still have to say farming is more important to me in the long-run. Farming is always going to be part of me, even if an opportunity in the NFL doesn't materialize.