Micah Pollard, Bartram Trail 3-star linebacker, announces college football commitment
EDITOR'S NOTE: Bartram Trail senior Micah Pollard has written the following story for the USA TODAY Network to announce where he plans to play college football.
A consensus three-star recruit, Pollard totaled 55 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception for the Bears during his junior year. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound hybrid linebacker/defensive end earned a spot on the Class 8A all-state second team, and he was selected as an Honoree for the Times-Union's Northeast Florida All-Area team.
Pollard, who claims 27 Division I offers, took visits to Auburn, Indiana, Michigan and UCF during the month of June. He is ranked as the No. 78 overall prospect in the state of Florida, and the No. 56 linebacker in the country, per 247Sports' composite rankings.
Micah is the son of former NFL tight end Marcus Pollard, who currently serves as the Jacksonville Jaguars' director of player development and youth football. Marcus played parts of 14 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons.
People assume that football always came easy to me because my dad played in the NFL.
That's not true.
Going into my junior year, making the leap from JV to varsity, I switched positions from safety to linebacker and found myself third-string on the depth chart. I was, more or less, average.
Competition fuels me, though. It's how I fell in love with the game.
When I was in the third grade, I started playing tackle football against the bigger kids. I remember coming in off the bench, lining up at cornerback and either batting down or intercepting the first pass thrown my way. The crowd went crazy.
That first feeling of uncertainty about whether I could beat the guy in front of me, not knowing if I would win the battle, drove me then — and it still drives me now.
That, and the memories of one of my best friends, Trey Sudderth. He passed away in May 2019 at just 15.
Trey wanted to play college football at Ohio State, and then get to the NFL. We played safety together. I was always on one side of the field, he was on the other.
He was one of the hardest workers I knew, and he did everything for the love of the game.
My freshman year, there was one game where we were down a whole bunch of points. Some guys gave up; he went full speed. He didn't care what the score was. That's what I will always remember about him.
I started working harder in the weight room, lifting regularly with three of the strongest guys I know — Dylan Chiedo, Segree Graham and Elo Modozie. They pushed me every day to get bigger and to get better.
I earned my spot over the summer, and it didn't take long for the results to follow.
First play from scrimmage this season against Creekside, I sacked the quarterback. I read that he was going to fake the handoff and took him down for about a 6-yard loss. I knew — right then and there — that it was going to be a good year.
And just like that first day on the Pop Warner fields, the fans went nuts.
I am truly blessed, honored and thankful to be in this position today.
I want to thank God. He's kept me safe throughout the years and gave me the talent to play this game.
I want to thank my parents for always supporting me in whatever I do, football and otherwise. I want to thank my siblings, too — my older brother Myles, and my younger sisters Aja and Ayris. When we were kids, they used to let me do tackling drills with them in the hallways of our house.
I want to thank Coach Chad Parker for helping me throughout the recruiting process, and Coach Darrell Sutherland for shaping me into a better man and football player. With him, character is the most important thing.
With that being said, I will be attending the University of Michigan.
I built a great relationship with UM's coaching staff. George Helow, my position coach, told me from the start how much he wants me, and that's meant a lot. That goes for defensive coordinator Mike MacDonald, safeties coach Ron Pollard and defensive analyst Ryan Osborn, too.
Ann Arbor is a great community with unbelievable support for the Wolverines. I can see the passion with each Twitter post I send.
Michigan has always been a part of my life. I wouldn't call myself a fan growing up, but my uncle — Braylon Edwards — played there before I was born.
I haven't seen a game at the Big House yet, but I cannot wait to be a part of one.