The pressure for standout student-athletes -- especially NFL-bound standouts -- to graduate in four years is often ... well, nonexistent.
For Nate Poole, there has been pressure. After all, there was more than a diploma riding on his four-year plan -- there was the chance to receive another year of eligibility.
As a former Proposition 48 student or "partial qualifier," Poole was informed in 1999 he would receive a fourth season of eligibility, giving him a chance to play in 2000.
"That was great," Poole said of the NCAA's ruling. "I've got so much more that I want to learn. The extra year will give me a chance to do so much."
The Herd's top receiver has already done his share of contributing: As QB Chad Pennington's main man in 1999, Poole amassed four 100-yard receiving games and was named first-team all-MAC.
Pennington has departed for the NFL, but expectations of Poole are as high as ever. He'll be the primary target for new QB Byron Leftwich, who coach Bobby Pruett says has "a stronger arm" than Pennington.
-- Luke Winn