Coaching staff the difference for Poland

Jordan Poland was a USC commit for quite some time, but a coaching change caused Poland to go in a different direction. Read on for his thoughts on how the Arizona coaching staff changed everything and more.

As Signing Day approached, many schools had to hold tight to their recruits, hoping that their future players didn't have a change of heart.

Arizona was one of the schools that scooped up a player originally committed to another.

La Jolla (Calif.) Country Day offensive tackle Jordan Poland flipped his commitment from Pac-12 rival USC to Arizona a month before he was slated to sign with the Trojans.

"I was committed pretty strongly to USC, but once I saw a change in the coaching staff, it made me feel a little uncomfortable," Poland said. "I did love USC, but I fell in love with the coaching staff at the U of A.

"They just told me that it was the right place for me to come back home. I felt the same way and made that decision."

The 6-foot-8, 335-pound tackle's decision to sign with Arizona was his own, stating that he felt more comfortable with Arizona.

Much of that was due to the coaching change at USC and his lack of familiarity with the Trojan's staff.

"Nothing against Coach Sark at all, but it was just something that I had to do for myself," he said. "It was my choice in the end and I felt more comfortable, trusting, and more familiar with Arizona."

Due to the coaching change, many new things were happening for the Trojan program. Poland felt like it was a new start for USC, but didn't feel that start was appropriate for him.

"I just felt like it wasn't the right time to be at USC," Poland said. "I didn't feel like I was abandoning a program or turning my back on anybody.

"It was just the right decision for me. When you feel so strongly about something, sometimes you just have to go with it."

Rich Rodriguez had his eye on Poland for a long time, dating back to the offensive tackle's first year in high school. That connection was what paid off in the end.

"Arizona has been on me for a long time," Poland said. "Those coaches have shown me a lot of loyalty, recruiting me since back in my freshman year. It means a lot when schools are loyal and I saw a lot of that from them."

The early recruitment and contact helped build a solid relationship between the Arizona coaches and the offensive lineman.

Poland feels he can trust that they will help develop him as a player and as a person.

"I have a very close relationship with the whole staff," he said. "I am just happy that I have the best of the best to learn from now.

"I want to be a great football player and I know that if I work hard, they will help me achieve that."

Being originally from Arizona, Poland knew plenty about the Wildcats and the campus before heading down for an official visit.

What stuck out most to him was the town, its people, and the support that they give the team.

"The thing that sticks out the most about Arizona is the whole atmosphere," he said. "Everyone around the program loves and supports the program. I'm not sure that there are many people in Tucson who don't love Arizona."

When he arrives on campus, Poland won't be taking any time off. He wants to compete for playing time right away with aspirations of becoming a starter sometime this coming season.

"In all honesty, I would like to be a starter this season," Poland said. "I know that I need to stay in shape and come ready to compete.

"The sky is the limit for me when I get to campus and I know I want to work my tail off. It's just a matter of what I'm willing to go out there and earn."

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