All it took was a visit to campus for Fighting Irish commit #10 Marlon Pollard to switch his commitment from UCLA to Notre Dame.
The California cornerback committed to the Bruins back in July of 2007, a month before he even started his junior year of high school. But after a UCLA coaching change and another year of high school football -- where he was named California 1st Team All-Underclass by Scout.com -- Pollard started to take another look at the other programs showing interest.
"I was at a camp in Chicago and had an extra day, so I decided to stop in," Pollard said. "I knew right away that (Notre Dame) was the right place for me.
"I got the vibe from everyone - from the players, coaches, students. It's a perfect blend of academics and athletics. When I was there, it just felt right. I can't really explain exactly what made it right, but it was."
Those other programs that offered Pollard beside the Irish include Nebraska and Washington. The recruiting sites both consider Pollard a 4-star recruit with Rivals listing him as the #12 corner and the #138 overall recruit while he's the #18 CB and #204 overall player on Scout.com. ESPN won't roll out their Top 150 until early August, so for now Pollard is one of the approximately 5,000 recruits on the Top 150 watchlist. They were rather complimentary in their player review of him.
Bottom line, Pollard's great initial burst and nose for the football as cornerback can't be coached; the bulk will come when he attacks a college weight training program. Good prospect who should excel on special teams; a threat blocking kicks off the edge with his elite first-step quickness.At 6'1" 160 pounds, Pollard fits the recent trend of ND recruiting taller cornerbacks, which fits Corwin Brown's preference to use bigger corners to press at the line of scrimmage. However, at only 160-ish pounds, Pollard will definitely need to bulk up. That shouldn't be too hard though as he's a younger recruit that will still be 17 when he suits up for his first Fighting Irish game. For now his quickness and athleticism are his strengths. In addition to posting strong combine results in the vertical leap and broad jump at the LA combine this past spring, he has set school records in the triple jump and long jump. Taking a look at his highlight video, his athleticism is pretty easy to see, as is his penchant for blocking kicks as mentioned in the above ESPN review. Pollard also does well against the run considering his size, something he focuses on.
"For my weight I have to play aggressive," said Pollard, who played his first three seasons at Valencia but transferred to Cajon High in San Bernardino following his junior season to play closer to family.Pollard's switch continues ND's successful run of recruits from California. The hard work in the state is getting noticed as Brian Polian, in charge of recruiting California and parts of Ohio, was mentioned as an early candidate for Rivals.com Recruiter of the Year. Obviously Charlie ran point on the higher profile recruits like Clausen, Crist, and Cierre Wood, but as the recruiter in charge of the region, Polian's tasks include maintaining frequent contact as well as looking for new candidates, like late bloomer Taylor Dever, or committed recruits looking around like Pollard. He gets enough of the blame for when things go wrong on the field, so it's only fair to point out when he's an integral part of things going right in another crucial part of a team's success. Nice work on Polian's part.
"I just go after it and I swarm to the ball. I play off my instincts and usually that carries me to the ball," he said. "I love to get involved with the run game. Most corners I watch, they kind of sit back and wait, and I don't really like that."