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Gabe Poe has gotten where he is today with preparation and hard work.
That's what helped Poe develop at West Oktibbeha High School and it has turned him into a tackling machine for the University of West Alabama.
Poe has become the leading tackler for West Alabama's defense this season with 51. He had a career-high 11 tackles for the Tigers this season in wins against Harding University and Arkansas-Monticello.
"I expected to do it, but maybe not as fast," Poe said about his ability to pile up tackles at UWA. "I'm a hard worker, try to play my part and be around the ball."
Part of Poe's production includes four tackles for loss and one sack.
West Alabama football coach Bobby Wallace first noticed Poe's ability in the spring, but has exceeded expectations with his play so far this season.
"First of all, he's a great person and a good student," Wallace said. "We're tickled to death to have him here.
"He's been our leading tackler just about every game and also makes tackles on special teams. He has a real good nose for the ball, runs really well and he's a real smart football player. He's having a great year for us."
Poe, a transfer from East Mississippi Community College, said the transition from junior college to college was tough at first, but it didn't take him long to catch up with the speed of the game at a different level.
Wallace said first-year defensive coordinator Robert Henry hasn't avoided using newcomers in key positions.
"A handful of them are junior college players and they are getting better each game," Wallace said. "Gabe fits into that category and is just getting better. He's just really active. He's active in special teams and on defense. He's making a lot of plays for us."
The Tigers hope Poe can continue his strong play Saturday when they host Henderson State for Homecoming. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. in Livingston, Ala.