With a body built for contact, Ethan Pocic isn’t about to shy away from the thing he likes most about football.
And that explains why the Lemont, Ill., native is bound for a college football career in the best league in the country.
At 6-foot-6 and 290 pounds, Pocic already has a chance to match up well physically against most of the defensive linemen he’ll encounter from Day 1 when he gets to LSU in 2013.
Regardless of what size he winds up at – he said he intends to start packing on muscle weight when he arrives in Baton Rouge next January as a mid-term enrollee – there’s no doubt what Pocic’s method of operation will be.
“I love to hit,” Pocic said. “I love run-blocking, I’m pretty athletic and I move pretty well for my size. I know I’ll have to play with a different level of mean streak when I get to the SEC.”
Pocic has his 2012 high school season at Lemont Township High School to hone all of his skills, including that mean streak, but he hasn’t exactly sat idle this summer.
Since committing to the Tigers in late May, Pocic has been a workout warrior and spent most of June preparing for the IAF Under-19 World Championship tournament.
Playing for the U.S. team that fell to Canada in the championship game, 23-17 on July 7, Pocic played both tackle spots and dabbled at guard as well.
Projected as a tackle at LSU, Pocic said he likes the idea of cross-training at different positions and even spends time every day working on snapping the ball.
“Playing for Team USA was a great experience,” Pocic said. “I met players from all around the country and even from around the world. I learned a lot about zone-blocking schemes and got a chance to practice against kids from all over.
“I got a good taste of how there’s a big difference in speed and that’s going to help me because I’ll have to get used to that real quick at LSU.”
And there’s no wavering on the commitment to the Tigers, Pocic insisted, despite a long list of suitors who haven’t gone away quietly since his pledge.
Most Big Ten and SEC teams courted Pocic, with Notre Dame and Oklahoma also jumping in the mix.
“It’s a done deal,” Pocic said. “I’m focused on my high school season and I’m enrolling early at LSU.
“They’re just a big family down there and that’s what I was looking for. (offensive line coach/offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa) is very straight forward and he’s a great o-line coach – somebody I really want to play for. And Coach (Les) Miles is great, too. They both have a lot of confidence in me and think I can help them on the line right away.”
By the time Pocic arrives on campus, there will be some jobs open on the o-line, with Alex Hurst, P.J. Lonergan and Josh Dworaczyk set for their senior seasons and junior Chris Faulk poised for a season that could give him reason to consider an early departure.
That makes getting a jump-start on college life – on and off the field – by arriving on campus in January a major plus for Pocic.
“It’s huge because I’ve got to learn the zone-blocking scheme and all the plays and get acclimated with school and everything,” Pocic said. “I think it’s a great opportunity to get started on the right foot.”
Where those opportunities lead, if form holds true, is also clear to Pocic.
“Playing at LSU and in the SEC, you’re always in the hunt for a national championship,” Pocic said. “At the same time, I was looking for the school that gives me the best opportunity to go to the NFL. There’s great competition every, and every conference game you’re going against the best players in the country. I can’t wait.”