Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Asu's Poole Grabs Hold of Family Inner Strength

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Asu's Poole Grabs Hold of Family Inner Strength

Article excerpt

Arizona State likens its chemistry this season to that of a family.

But none among the No. 4-ranked Sun Devils may draw as much strength of character from his family as senior wide receiver Keith Poole.

Poole admits without hesitation that he owes his football career to his older brother, Marc, whose presence on campus through the trying times as well as the good has been an inspiration to other ASU players as well. Marc was among the first fans on the turf following ASU's dramatic 48-35 victory over Southern California two weeks ago, wheeling himself onto Frank Kush Field seemingly before Courtney Jackson hit the end zone on his game-ending, 85-yard fumble return for a touchdown. Keith paused after a career-high 10 receptions in a 41-9 victory at Stanford in front of family and friends last week to give Marc a quick kiss on his way to the locker room. "It's amazing," Poole said. "I can't really explain it, but I pretty much owe everything to him for getting me back into football and keeping me going." Keith, a semifinalist for the Fred Biletnikoff Award, given to the top collegiate receiver, gave up football the summer before his sophomore year in high school, when Marc was involved in an automobile accident that left him paralyzed and wheelchair-bound. Marc was a promising college prospect in Clovis, Calif., at the time of the accident. "I went through a very hard time," Keith said. "I actually gave up football, but he got me back into it. He basically told me to go back out there and play. For the first time, he admitted that I was a good athlete. He never did that. When we were playing basketball against each other in the back yard or something, he never told me I was good or anything. He always put me down." A week later, Keith returned practice, a move that was not lost on college recruiters several years later. Despite receiving inquiries from UCLA, USC, Washington and Nebraska, among others, Keith said he chose ASU because it offered him a chance to be a pioneer, not a caretaker. …

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