Dontari Poe is a professional American football player who has been in the limelight since he joined the National Football League (NFL) due to his resilience and unique defensive skills. Prior to the national league, he played college football at the University of Memphis where he was named a Conference USA All-Freshman Team selection in ESPN’s Bruce Feldman’s list of 10 Strongest Men in College Football.
Subsequently, Dontari was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL draft of 2012 and has since then, played for other top NFL teams like the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers. Although the two-time Pro Bowler is primarily a defensive lineman, he is also popular for being the largest player to either rush or pass for a touchdown.
Dontari Poe’s Bio
Dontari Poe was born on August 18, 1990, in Memphis, Tennessee, to black American parents – Robert Poe and his wife Sandra Poe. He is the youngest of three brothers and a self-described “mama’s boy”. Dontari and his brothers, Pierre Poe and Robert Poe Jr., were raised by their mother in the Whitehaven neighborhood of Memphis, Tennessee.
While growing up, Poe’s father was not around so, in order to meet the daily needs of the family, his mother worked three jobs but there were still times when she did not have money for Christmas gifts. There were also times when Dontari Poe had to deal with being teased by other kids for wearing hand-me-downs.
Speaking of his mother, the player says he owes much of who he is today to her guiding presence in his life. In the absence of their father, Dontari’s older brothers stepped in and took up the fatherly role, steering him away from trouble while his mother who is vivacious, energetic, quick to smile and laugh – but also quick to pivot if need be, also kept him in line as he grew up.
The player once revealed that he took his toughness from his mom and as a way of appreciating her for her sacrifices, the NFL player has a tattoo on his right arm which reads the words, “I Am My Mother’s Keeper.”
Dontari Poe is a graduate of Wooddale High School in Memphis, Tennessee. During his time there, he was spotted by the school’s football coach, Cedric Miller, while he (Poe) was practicing with the marching band in the summer before his freshman year and even though he had no prior football experience, Miller invited him to join the football team.
Playing as a defensive lineman, he recorded 63 tackles and eight sacks in his junior year and earned an all-state honorable mention defensive lineman. Apart from football, he was also a talented short putter.
Assessing his athletic abilities, Rivals.com and Scout.com rated Dontari as a two-star prospect. Among the defensive tackles that were highlighted by Marcus Forston and DeAngelo Tyson, Scout rated him No. 92 while Rivals.com did not list him among their top 75 defensive tackles but as the No. 19 overall prospect out of Tennessee.
When it was time for the young star to begin his college career, he was recruited by his hometown school Memphis in addition to Auburn, Colorado, and Mississippi Universities but he chose to play for the Memphis Tigers. As a redshirt freshman in 2009, he played in 11, making 6 starts at nose tackle. He concluded the year with 27 tackles, including 18 solo stops, earning a Conference USA All-Freshman Team selection.
He became a consistent starter on the defensive line the following year and by the year’s end, he ranked 5th on the team in tackles with 41, and 4th in TFL with 6.5 (for a total loss of 27 yards). Following his very productive season, Dontari Poe earned an All-Conference-USA honorable mention.
During the 2011 season, the player started all 12 games on the defensive line and at 6 feet 3 inches and 346 lb in 2011, he was listed among the “10 Strongest Men in College Football” by ESPN′s Bruce Feldman. He was also selected second-team All-Conference USA, and was listed as an honorable mention All-America pick by Pro Football Weekly.
By the end of his collegiate career, he had played in 35 games (30 starts) and made 101 tackles (57 unassisted), 21.5 TFL, 5 sacks, 4 pass break-ups, and 4 forced fumbles. After his junior year, Dontari forwent his senior season in favor of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Dontari Poe got into the NFL Combine as a potential second rounder and put up an epic performance which for which ESPN’s Todd McShay, projected him to be a No. 11 pick by the Kansas City Chiefs. The talented player also went from No. 3 to No. 1 in defensive tackle positional ranking of NFL.com draft analyst, Mike Mayock.
Eventually, he was picked by the Kansas City Chiefs as the eleventh overall and the second defensive tackle to be selected in the 2012 NFL Draft. He signed a four-year, $11 million contract with the Chiefs and competed for the starting shirt with Jerrell Powe and Anthony Toribio during his rookie season. After spending the first three preseason games on the bench, Poe finally got a chance to play in the starting lineup after Toribio suffered an injury on his ankle. Being an exceptional player, he worked hard enough to remain a starter for the rest of his rookie year and was later named the Chiefs’ Rookie of the Year by the Kansas City Star.
He was selected to take part in the annual Pro Bowl in 2013 and 2014 and in 2015, he played in 15 games, making 39 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery. He finished the 2016 season with 27 tackles, a forced fumble, 1.5 sacks, and 3 passes defended.
Following the expiration of his contract with the Chiefs, he joined the Atlanta Falcons in 2017 on a one-year contract worth $8 million. The next year, he moved over to the Carolina Panthers on a three-year, $27 million deal.
Weight, Height, Body Measurements
The Carolina Panthers defensive tackle is a perfect combination of size, strength, athletic ability, and the understanding of what is needed for him and others to do their job.
He stands very tall at 6 feet 4 inches and has a body weight of 346 pounds while his arm length is 32 inches. With his strong hands which measures of 95/8inches, Dontari Poe keeps defenders at bay and throws them around to create opportunities.