Last fall, Grant Polley caught the attention of the Under Armour All-American Game selection committee and he earned a bump up to four-star status on Scout.com. What makes both of those feats all the more impressive is the fact Polley played the majority of his senior campaign with a severe knee injury.
"I battled through it during the season and tried to let it heel on its own but I ended up needing to have surgery little over a month ago," Polley explained. "Everything is going well. They said I am ahead of schedule, they said I am coming back pretty strong. All I have to do is focus on the task at hand so I can be good going forward."
Different than a torn ACL or torn MCL, Polley's surgery should require substantially less recovery time.
"I had a torn MPFL (medial patellofemoral ligament) and I fractured my knee camp," he said. "They said I should be good to go in three to four months. So right when the season starts to get going, I should be good to go. Right now I am doing a whole lot of rehab, core stuff, so I can be as ready as possible."
Most offensive linemen redshirt their first year on campus, and Polley's injury seems to suggest he will watch the 2017 season from the sidelines. What is Polley's mindset looking ahead to the fall?
"I am going to be ready whenever my knee gets back and I can play. I am not going to hold myself back from anything once they give me the green light," he responded. "Even during my rehab, I try to take on the mentality that I am not going to count myself out yet because that helps keep me going.
"I am really excited and anxious to get to Colorado so I can learn the system and work with the strength coach (Drew Wilson), who I have heard great things about. In my mind, I think I can be the best left tackle to ever play football. That is what I am going to strive for."
While manning the left tackle spot at Denton High School as a junior and senior, Polley recorded a total of 259 knockdown blocks, an eye-opening number, while not allowing a single sack. He was ranked by 247 Sports as the nation's 37th best offensive tackle prospect from the Class of 201, however, because he stands 6-foot-4, 265-pounds, Scout.com ranked him as an offensive guard prospect instead.
Polley does have a long wingspan, which could allow him to play tackle in college, but it remains to be seen exactly where he will factor in on the Buffaloes' offensive line in the future.
"I have always felt more comfortable in space, at tackle, but growing up I also played guard so I can do whatever is asked of me," he said. "But it would be great if I had a shot at playing tackle."
Polley has kept in contact with Colorado offensive line coach Klayton Adams since signing day, and he has had an opportunity to bump into defensive coordinator DJ Eliot and co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini in recent weeks as they have both stopped by Denton for spring evaluations.
"We have about three or four guys at Denton that I think can play at the next level," he said. "I don't know if Colorado is looking specifically at them right now but we'll see."
The Buffaloes' recruitment of Polley and his teammate Chris Miller provided Colorado fans with some anxious moments in the winter months, prior to signing day. New Longhorns head coach Tom Herman put the full court press on Polley, while Miller was being heavily pursued by Baylor, Ole Miss and Notre Dame, among other schools.
"The whole recruiting process toward the end, yeah, it got pretty crazy," Polley recalled. "But I knew where I wanted to be and I knew what the best school was.
"Toward the end, it was more of me trying to get Chris to stay with Colorado because he had a lot of pressure. Of course I had a lot of pressure, too, but I really think Colorado is the place to be right now. We have a lot going for us. We are going to be really good."
Signing Day Video on Polley:
Senior Highlight Reel:
Senior Game Clips:
Junior Highlight Reel: