He didn't jump at the offers to go to the big college programs. Instead he chose to stay home and play his college ball at Memphis University. His critics said the NFL wouldn't find him, but it's hard to miss a 6'4" 346-pound wrecking ball.
After a Combine workout that included a sub-five second 40-time, 44 reps on the bench press and a 29 ½-inch vertical leap NFL scouts are convinced he has the necessary combination of strength and athleticism to fit any defensive scheme.
"He's about as scheme versatile as they come this year in terms of defensive tackles," said ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper. "Dontari Poe could be a nose tackle in 3-4 or a defensive tackle in a 4-3."
"I see myself as someone who can rush the passer a lot more than people think," said Poe, who finished with 21.5 tackles for loss in his Memphis career. "I am used to playing nose tackle and the three-technique and I've played some five-technique. I'm pretty comfortable anywhere on the defensive line."
With a great burst off the ball Poe often rocks opposing offensive linemen back and from there he uses his quickness to find the ball to make plays.
I think I'm explosive, very explosive," he said. "That's probably my biggest strength. Most people think just because I'm big I do nothing but lean on you, things like that. I try to use my quickness to my advantage."
"That kid is so scary," said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock. "At 346 pounds, he's an athletic freak. He's a little bit like (Baltimore's) Haloti Ngata, movement skills wise. I'm excited about him."
"I like Ndamukong Suh," said Poe. "I think he's very aggressive. Haloti Ngata. A lot of defensive tackles in this day and age are very good, which forces us to kind of step our game up."
And just where is Poe looking to improve his game?
"Just overall consistency. I need to maintain my level of play throughout the course of a whole game," he said. "That's probably the biggest thing."
Widely forecast as a mid-first round pick, Poe will have even bigger things to come as his NFL career begins.
"It's always been a dream," said Poe. "Back in high school we used to look at it and think it was so far away, but now at the end of my college career and getting this opportunity, it's a blessing and it's a dream come true. It's also a job and a business. It has become a reality. I'm getting used to it as I go."