Maurkice Pouncey (born July 24, 1989) is an American football center for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Florida, was a member of a BCS National Championship team, and was recognized as an All-American. He was drafted by the Steelers in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, and is a two-time Pro Bowl selection.
Pouncey was born in Ardmore, Oklahoma. He attended Lakeland High School in Lakeland, Florida, and he was a standout lineman for the Lakeland Dreadnaughts high school football team. As a senior in 2006, he helped lead Lakeland High to its third consecutive Florida Class 5A state championship and second straight USA Today national championship.
Pouncey received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he played for coach Urban Meyer’s Florida Gators football team from 2007 to 2009. As a freshman in 2007, Pouncey started 11 of 13 games for the Gators at right guard. As a sophomore in 2008, he started all 14 of the Gators’ games at center, including the Gators’ victories in the SEC Championship Game against the Alabama Crimson Tide, and the BCS National Championship Game against the Oklahoma Sooners. As a junior in 2009, he was a first-team All-SEC selection and a consensus All-American, receiving first-team honors from the Football Writers Association of America, The Sporting News and the Walter Camp Football Foundation, and second-team honors from the Associated Press. He was awarded the Rimington Trophy after his junior season in 2009, and thereafter, he decided to forgo his senior year of eligibility and enter the 2010 NFL Draft.
Pouncey entered the 2010 NFL Draft as the consensus No. 1 center available, ahead of Matt Tennant, J. D. Walton, and Eric Olsen. The Pittsburgh Steelers chose Pouncey in the first round (18th pick overall). He was the highest selected center since Damien Woody in 1997, and the highest selected Gators offensive lineman since Kenyatta Walker in 2001.