Introducing the 2003 Class: Mike Pollak

Some say that chemistry and cohesiveness are some of the most worn out clichés in sports. Then again, they are players such as Mike Pollak, who believe that it's a vital ingredient for success. Therefore, the team's unity is what attracted this local high school star to play for the Sun Devils. In this exclusive DevilsDigest interview Pollak talks about this team attribute and more.

Mike Pollak, who was rated the No. 6 offensive lineman in the West by PacWestFootball.com, was pleasantly and perhaps shockingly surprised when notable college programs started calling him early in his high school career. "I remember getting a phone call from (ASU's running backs) Coach Nordquist my junior year. He said how excited he was recruiting me, and I was overwhelmed that I had the chance to play in a Division I school…Washington and U of A were on me pretty early too. I also considered Stanford." He also mentions that every Pac-10 school aside from UCLA and USC, as well as, Northwestern offered him. His dad was a three-sport star at Oklahoma, but Pollak said: "There was a little interest from them. But I really didn't want to go there."

Despite all the recruiting attention he was receiving, the Corona del Sol standout decided to take only two official trips – ASU and Washington. The difference between both visits mainly circled around one issue. "It seemed that the players at Washington weren't a close-knit group like ASU. I just wanted to play for a team that had good unity… Chemistry really makes a difference in a football team. I notice that on my high school team too."

Granted, Pollak was also deeply impressed with the Devils' athletic amenities. Nevertheless, it still all came down to the quality individuals involved with the program. "On the visit we met with all the players, and even the upperclassmen were really cordial with us. Everybody made us fell very comfortable. The facilities are top notch – I can't say enough about them. But once you get past the facilities you get to see the great people that are behind it." The official visit helped the lineman pull the trigger on a decision that seemed like a forgone conclusion. "In the back of my mind I probably knew I wanted to go to ASU all along. But it really didn't come out until I took my visit."

Fellow incoming freshman, Brett Palmer, is not only a close friend but also a high school foe playing for Marcos de Niza – Corona's archrival. Unlike Pollak, Palmer committed very early in the recruiting season, and to no avail tried to lure Pollak to also verbal early to ASU. "He was calling me and saying ‘come on you gotta do this' but he was joking around…It's not weird that we used to play against each other in high school and now we're playing with each other. We looked forward to playing against each other in high school, and it's cool that we now we play on the same team."

Pollak started three years on varsity, and also played as a defensive tackle. When asked to self assess his skills he replied: "I'm pretty strong on my quickness and in my pulling. I probably need to get stronger in my run blocking." Case in point, his senior season stats included 92-percent pass blocking, 86-percent run blocking and 67 pancakes. The lineman was also one of the state's best high school baseball pitchers this past season (He actually never played football before coming to Corona del Sol). However, he has no aspirations in playing for the ASU's storied program. "I don't think I'll be able to play baseball at ASU. Football is a year-round sport, and I want to put all my effort in it."

Coach Dirk Koetter's exciting offense is naturally attractive to quarterbacks and wide receivers. However, even offensive linemen such as Pollak, enjoy playing in such a pass-heavy scheme. "In high school our team was running a lot. Now at ASU it's nice to play for a team that passes a lot, and I expect to be successful here…(ASU's offensive line) Coach Grimes is a great coach. I love his way of teaching and philosophies." Pollak has been working out in the summer with his new teammates. He's pleased with his physical condition, but admits he could improve on that. As far as his playing prospects in his freshman year go, he's content with any decision that will be handed down to him. "I'll probably be redshirted, and that's fine. It will give me an extra year to get better. Whatever the coach decides it will be fine."

The adjustment on and off the field for a newcomer such as Pollak can be a taxing process. Then again, the fact that he will play a short drive from home can somewhat negate that transition from high school to college. The incoming Sun Devil freshman expects a mixed bag of goods. "I think it's gonna be both hard and easy. The adjustment won't be hard for me compared to someone out of state. I know I can help those guys because I play close to home. But on the football field, it will be a big adjustment with learning plays and stuff like that. I also need to get used to the classes."

Mike Pollak always felt that he wouldn't mind venturing out of his home state to play college football. On the other hand he says," But when it came down to it I really wanted to stay close to home. My mom graduated from ASU, but didn't pressure me at all to go there." The pressure, at least between the lines, is something that may not burden him until next season. At that time, it will be the motivated and self-disciplined offensive lineman that will apply all the necessary pressure on himself to achieve greatness in his back yard.

Recruit Profile

Name

Mike Pollak

High School

Corona del Sol (Tempe, AZ)

Position

OL

Height

6-4

Weight

275

Date of Birth

2/15/85

Birthplace

Tempe, AZ

Nickname

"Never got one"

Favorite TV Show

"SportsCenter"

Favorite Movie

"Dumb and Dumber"

Favorite Singer

"311"

Favorite Food

"Any Kind of Food"

Favorite Drink

"Gatorade"

Favorite Athlete

"Roger Clemens"

Favorite Pro Team

"New York Giants"

Person you most admire

"My Father. He set a lot of goals in his life and has accomplished all of them."

First Football Memory

"Playing on the varsity my sophomore year. I remember how excited I was."

One Thing most people don't know about me

"I play the guitar."

Why did you choose ASU?

"Team Unity"

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"Hopefully being in the NFL or owning a successful business."

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