North Paulding has been on the precipice of jumping into our top 10 rankings in 7A the last few years. The weekly bubble team has been one of the best teams in 7A, and that has largely been driven forward by the legs of 2023 running back Jaylen Poe.
Last week, the senior had 416 total yards of offense in a wild 37-36 loss against Kennesaw Mountain. The senior made several spectacular runs during the game, but one stood among the rest.
Getting the ball on his own 35-yard line, Poe weaved around a few defenders picking his way through the offensive line until he got to the 2nd level of the defense. The senior hit his top speed stepping over a diving tackle and then a slight stiff arm threw another Kennesaw Mt player out of orbit. Poe then sprinted the rest of the way for a touchdown, and ultimately found himself in our weekly top plays of the week where he finished 3rd.
The early season has treated the senior excellently so far, and he currently has 577 yards rushing on just 52 carries for 7 touchdowns with an additional 168 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns.
“It’s going good. We are 2-1. Lost a tough one (last week). We made a lot of mistakes in, but learned from them,” Poe said about the season so far.
The senior is focused on making the most of his final year of football. Poe has taken a jump in the last year, and a lot of his improvements were realized during the offseason.
“Over the last year, I have definitely gotten bigger, stronger, faster, and really improved my pass blocking and route running,” he said.
On the recruiting front, colleges are criminally overlooking the 5’10” 210 lbs. running back. Poe talked about the current status of his recruitment.
“As far as college recruitment, I don’t have any offers yet. I would love the opportunity and be very grateful, but I am going to just keep working and trust God’s plan for my life.”
Personally, we think Poe is one of the most underrated backs in the state of Georgia and is in a unique situation where smaller schools know he is too talented, and D1 schools just seem to be sitting on their hands for the moment. He is a powerful back who lives in the weight room posting a 500 lbs. squat, 375 lbs. bench, and a 315 lbs. power clean.
Couple that with his excellent speed and obvious improvements from last season, and you have perhaps the top sleeper back in the entire state of Georgia. Some in the North Paulding community say that Poe reminds them of NFL running back Le’Veon Bell.
“He is a Pro-Bowler so that’s an honor, but I don’t really model my game after anyone, I just try to focus on getting better in all areas and helping my team as much as I can,” he said.
For the remainder of the season, Poe has outlined a strong finish for his North Paulding squad.
“My goals for the rest of the season are to help my team make a playoff run. We have a large senior class and I would love for all of us to finally have the playoff experience as far as we can take it.”
The Wolfpack are certainly not a team to sleep on. They have the talent and experience to be a sneaky tough team during the 2nd half of the season and with one of the top running backs in the state of Georgia powering their offense, they will be a formidable opponent.
We are of the belief that Poe’s recruitment will pick up here shortly. He is a no-doubt D1 talent in our eyes, so be sure to follow @RecruitGeorgia to hear the latest on the senior and many more across the state of Georgia.