Knowing he was going to be in Chicago this week for an Offense-Defense Sports Select Football Camp, Marlon Pollard saw that he had an extra day in the Midwest before having to fly back home. He called his Notre Dame recruiting coach Brian Polian on short notice to see if he could check out the campus for the first time.
"In 24 hours, the guy had a full agenda," the 6-foot-1, 160-pound Pollard laughed.
"Man, it was a big eye opener. I wasn't ready, I wasn't expecting what I saw from them. While we were there, the feeling I got was legendary. It had a an aura about it. We went through the locker room with all the history. Went to the Cathedral. I met with some players. I met with all the coaches except coach Weis. He was in Washington D.C. I watched film with coach (Corwin) Brown, the defensive coordinator. He has some great techniques he is willing to teach me.
"I checked out, the dining hall," Pollard continued. Offered by the Irish earlier this month, Pollard also holds scholarship offers from UCLA, Washington, Nebraska and Arizona State. "It kind of reminded me of Harry Potter. I swear I was in the movie. The people there, they remind me of myself. The players, the people on campus, and that's a big thing. I met some academic people. I met with the assistant dean.
"Then I talked to professors about the pre-med program and what kind of courses I would have to take. I talked to one of the players that is going through the program (Leonard Gordon). I wanted to see how he juggled that. He was a great guy.
"I met up with Jimmy Clausen in the weight room. I remember playing against him. He got taller. He put on some pounds."
Pollard, who will play his senior season at Cajon High, was the first verbal commit in UCLA's 2009 recruiting class. He committed back in July of 2007. The trip to South Bend definitely gave Pollard something to think about.
"I'm just going to continue going through the process, but I'm leaving Notre Dame with a good feeling about the program," Pollard began. He made the visit with his mother and sister. "I was informed a lot about their school. I really didn't know that much. I knew from word of mouth, but when you're there and see it, it's a big difference.
"Every kid should go through the actual process. When I made my first commitment, I was 15-years old. It was a childhood dream of mine to go to UCLA. I wasn't conscience. I was 15. Now that I've seen another university, I have something to compare it too.
"UCLA is still a great place with great tradition, and (defensive coordinator) coach DeWayne Walker is an amazing person. Now I have to sit down with my family and make the best decision for myself."
Pollard would like to make his college decision before his senior season, and said it's safe to say UCLA and Notre Dame are his top two favorites.
"But I want to see some other schools," he added.
Last fall, Pollard used his 4.5 second speed in the 40-yard dash to make 56 tackles and three interceptions for Valencia High. A family move is the reason why he will play at Cajon.
Pollard has never had a defensive backs coach for the teams he's played on, so the Offense-Defense camps allow him to get specialized training. He's been going to them since he was seven-years old. After a few years of working out against the same players, and being coached up by the same coaches, Pollard's mother told her son he could fly to other regional camps offered by the same program. He's been to Florida, Texas, Baltimore, New York and Chicago.
The Irish coaching staff is thankful for the latter one.
Pollard's next visit to Notre Dame won't be so impromptu. He is scheduled to make an official visit for the Stanford game.