Pool prepares to turn pro early

NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma free safety Brodney Pool signed
with an agent Wednesday, solidifying his status as an early entry
into the NFL draft.

Pool had until Wednesday to pull his name out of the draft, but
instead signed with agent Ben Dogra of St. Louis-based SFX. He will
skip his senior season to take part in the draft, which begins
April 23 in New York.

"He seems to be a legitimate contender for the No. 1 free
safety spot in the 2005 NFL draft," Dogra told The Associated
Press in a telephone interview. "I believe that he is the best
free safety in the country."

Pool had a team-high seven interceptions in 2003 and two more
this season after the Sooners lost cornerback Derrick Strait to the
NFL. Oklahoma was also without its top returning cornerback,
Antonio Perkins, for part of the season.

Pool, listed at 6-foot-3 and 208 pounds, led the Sooners with 92
tackles and nine passes broken up.

Dogra said Pool has tools that can make him a similar player to
Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed, who was AP's defensive player of
the year this season.

Dogra said Pool has tremendous pass coverage instincts, he can
run, he has a 40-inch vertical leap and he can also deliver a hit
on an opposing player.

"He brings an awful lot to the table that NFL teams look for,"
Dogra said.

Dogra said Pool's most desired ability might be his range across
the field.

"You can't get that in most safeties," Dogra said.

Dogra said he considered this year's senior class weak in
safeties, which would benefit Pool. Pool had already decided to
leave Oklahoma before he contacted Dogra, the agent said. However,
Dogra said he knew it was a "very tough decision" for Pool.

"He's torn," Dogra said.

Dogra said Pool was already training at Athletes' Performance in
Phoenix, a facility where athletes from many sports -- including
Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling and tennis player Jennifer
Capriati -- have worked out.

"He is an unbelievable athlete," Dogra said. "If he gets up
tomorrow and he runs, he's going to run better than most players
… This is a kid that already has remarkable athletic ability."