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Signing Day: Illinois safety JT Poynton makes ‘right decision’ with Army commitment

JT Poynton admittedly knew nothing about Army football when assistant coach Matt Drinkall offered him last month.

As Poynton and Drinkall talked, the shock of the Lincoln-Way East (Ill.) safety’s first FBS offer turned into interest. Poynton’s interest increased when Army’s head coach visited his home Dec. 12.

Poynton knew then Army was the school and football program for him when Jeff Monken walked through the door.

“This was it for me,” said Poynton about the moment knew he would be a Black Knight. “One of the best and most influential coaches in the entire country would be coming to my house. The visit was amazing and I couldn’t wait to get on campus.”

Poynton visited West Point with high expectations last weekend. The expectations were exceeded.

On the way back to LaGuardia Airport, Poynton and his family briefly talked about the visit. Poynton was ready to commit and called Monken, Drinkall and safeties coach Danny Verpaele with his decision before boarding the plane back to Illinois.

“They were all so hyped that I made the right decision,” Poynton said.

Poynton will be one of the many Army 2024 commits inking their certificates of commitment on early Signing Day today. It will be a proud moment for Poynton.

“Friends, family, coaches and teachers were all happy for me (when he committed) and are excited to see what I will do at West Point,” Poynton said.

Poynton had other options. Air Force offered Poynton a few weeks after Army. FCS programs Fordham, St. Thomas, Butler and Valparaiso also offered opportunities.

“I didn’t even consider Air Force,” said the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Poynton. “Army is better on every level.”

Poynton thinks back to his visit, led by Drinkall and Verpaele.

“The scenery of the massive hills and Hudson River in the background integrated with the historic gray granite buildings made the campus the most beautiful one I’ve ever seen by a wide margin,” Poynton said. “I got to talk to some of my future teammates. The facilities were top notch, along with the best I’ve ever seen. Me and my family were treated so well and there was nothing that could have made the visit better.”

Army is recruiting Poynton as a safety but he has the flexibility to play cornerback or even outside linebacker.

“I’m excited to see what the coaches do with me and how well they transform me into a Division I football player,” Poynton said.

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