MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - University of Memphis football player Dontari Poe has had to overcome the odds and now he's on track to NFL greatness.
Poe's high school football coach Cedric Miller told abc24.com, "He became a beast his 10th and 11th grade year."
Miller said it was only by chance that he ran into Poe while he was coaching at Wooddale.
"I see this big old kid in the back with a bass drum in his hand. I stopped the band, he said, 'Mr. Miller…' I said, 'hold on.' I said, 'Don, have you ever played football?' He said, 'No sir.' I said, 'You gonna start today,' and I told the band director 'I'm sorry you just lost a bass drum player, this joker here has got to play football.'"
Poe's Mom Chrissandra told abc24.com that football is just what her son needed. She says he lost focus for awhile in high school but quickly got it back.
"He realized once his grades dropped that he had to get his act together," she said. "He's just so motivated."
Poe said times were tough when he was coming up so now he wants to provide for his Mom.
"All the times I've seen her struggling," Poe said, "putting on a fake smile so we wouldn't see her struggling, to see that it's real now; she's smiling and happy and not stressing too much."