Poplawski following family legacy with Arizona State pledge

With his commitment to Arizona State on Friday, Saguaro tight end Jared Poplawski said he's planning to become a fourth-generation Sun Devil.

Jared Poplawski has Arizona State in his blood. 

A tight end at Scottsdale Saguaro High, Poplawski said his grandfather Jim Poplawski was a tight end on the ASU roster under legendary coaches Dan Devine and Frank Kush. Six decades later, he'll play the same position for the same school. 

But the family connection goes much deeper than that. 

Poplawski's great-grandfather Donn Kinzle coached track at ASU and was the school's athletic director starting in 1949. Kinzle was partly responsible for ASU's nickname change from Bulldogs to Sun Devils. 

Poplawski's father also went to ASU, he said, along with his aunt. Now, with his commitment to the program Friday, Poplawski is planning to become a fourth-generation Sun Devil. 

"It just felt like the right decision, you know," Poplawski said. "It's been kind of my school growing up, my grandfather played there, my great-grandpa was the AD a while ago. My dad went there, pretty much everyone in my family went there. It was kind of a no brainer, just the right decision."

ASU became the first school to offer the 6-foot-4, 220 pound tight end in November following the Territorial Cup game against Arizona. Still, he held off on making a commitment in order to let everything settle on him. In the interim he picked up a lot more scholarship offers, including Colorado, Louisville, Memphis and Oregon State. But Poplawski kept coming back to the Sun Devils. 

"Everybody was telling me to take my time, make sure I was making the right decision," he said. "So I just wanted to wait it out, wait through the spring and then as soon as I knew this was the place I wanted to be I just committed.

"I love [ASU coaches] Del Alexander and Chip Lindsey]," Poplawski said. "They're both great coaches. Coach Lindsey had one of the best offenses in the country last year (at Southern Miss) and I'm just super excited to play for both of those guys."

It turned out the right time was when two of his Saguaro teammates, offensive lineman Corey Stephens and linebacker Kyle Soelle, were also ready to announce their plans to attend ASU. 

"It's just a great feeling. I'm super excited to get out there with my boys and can't wait." 

Saguaro coach Jason Mohns said ASU is getting a good player in Poplawski, the No. 12 tight end prospect in the West by Scout. He had 32 catches for 438 yards and six touchdowns last season as a junior for the Sabercats. 

"Jared is a true tight end that can put his hand down and be a factor in the run game," Mohns said. "He's a talented pass catcher. He can split out and run good routes. He's a basketball player so he's a good athlete and knows how to use his body well to create separation. He is versatile on offense in that you can use him split out and go four wide or you can attach him or use him as an up back and get him involved in the run game. I know there's a lot of schools that really like him and he fits the scheme at ASU and what coach (Chip) Lindsey has done in the past. He likes to be in 11 personnel and that's what we are based out of at Saguaro with Jared. He opens up a lot of things for the offense."

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