Faith, Focus Propelling Draft Prospect Poindexter

It’s a cold, cloudy day in southern Arizona and the crowd is much smaller than the ones Shawn Poindexter played in front of the past three years but the message he is delivering is far more impactful. The now former University of Arizona wide receiver stands before a crowd of 50 or so Cienega High School students and speaks of his faith, humility and the mistakes he made “growing up.”

Few know the road less traveled better than the 6-foot-5, 218-pound wide receiver who many feel is one of the better “sleeper” prospects in next month’s NFL draft. 

A three-sport athlete at Centennial High School, Poindexter briefly attended Cal Baptist to play volleyball before returning to the Valley just a few days after classes started. He took time off from school to work in support of his family, while also taking the opportunity to find his faith and purpose.

“It was tough,” Poindexter explained to “If you don’t have self-respect or a purpose you kind of just find yourself giving yourself to anything and everything people offer you. Falling into peer pressures really set me back.”

Poindexter’s self-reflection and faith eventually led him back to school and football at nearby Glendale Community College. He thrived on and off the field and after his freshman year was encouraged by GCC assistant coach Jason Jewell to explore his Division I options. He had offers from South Dakota State and Marshall but opted not to sign with either.

Neither “felt right” but the late offer from UofA did, even though Poindexter was far from the Cats’ top choice.

“What they saw was a throw away offer,” he explained. “They didn’t get the recruits they wanted so they offered me. I saw it as a blessing and I took advantage of it.”

What aided Poindexter’s on-field growth the most was the hiring of Kevin Sumlin whose more pass-friendly scheme suited the wide receiver’s skill set perfectly. Poindexter caught 42 passes for 759 yards and 11 touchdowns last fall, yet wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine.

He also chose not to hire an agent.

“None of them cared to know me off the field,” Poindexter said of his potential suitors. “If it’s going be a relationship, it needs to be mutual…it’s a fast money game and I didn’t want to get caught up with that.”

Poindexter instead opted to be represented by established Tucson attorney Burt Kinerk and his personal “training team” which includes a track coach, strength coach, route-running coach, dietician and even a Pilates instructor.

The group has worked together as one to help prepare Poindexter for Arizona’s Pro Day on March 15th. It will present the best showcase platform for the “late-bloomer” to impress NFL eyes before next month’s draft.

“I can play the game, my film speaks for itself,” Poindexter said with a grin. “I’m not trying to be any other person or any other athlete than who I am because we’re all different and I’m just trying to shape my game in the best way possible.”

His head coach at Arizona echoes those sentiments.

“The sky is the limit,” Kevin Sumlin said to after drawing comparision to Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Josh Reynolds who he coached at Texas A&M. “I think Shawn’s best days are still ahead of him. He’s going to have a real chance [to play in the NFL].” 

He’s doing it all, while continuing to pour into others and give them the strength, motivation and guidance he lacked just a few short years ago.

“When you can pour into someone and know you’re potentially making an impact in their lives,” Poindexter said. “That’s a legacy and that’s the only thing that you can leave here on earth. You can’t take anything else with you when you’re gone but you can leave a legacy.”

Shawn Poindexter is well on his way to doing just that.