Tuesday, September 23, 2014

the recruit: Grant Polk

Name: Grant Polk
Position: OT
Hometown: Punta Gorda, FL
School: Charlotte
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 290

24/7: 87, three stars; #77 OT, FL #93
ESPN: 74, three stars; #95 OT, FL #185, SE #529
Rivals: 5.5, three stars
Scout: three stars; #120 OT

Other offers: Mississippi State, Cincinnati, East Carolina, South Florida, Indiana, FAU, FIU, Middle Tennessee, Georgia Southern

You know how I am about O-line depth right now: it's putrid.  So I wasn't unhappy when two linemen committed in less than a week back in June.  Actually, I could be happier - four is what we have, but I don't consider it enough, and Grant Polk is the highest-rated - and most heavily-recruited - commitment we have on the line right now.  As you can see, his ratings aren't astronomical.

They may not be everything, though.  Even though the ratings are all consistent, and in line with Polk's offer list as well, it may be they're a little low.  Polk has been getting semi-heavy overtures from both Florida and Florida State, and actually took a visit to Gainesville after his verbal commitment, which should make UVA fans both nervous and a little excited.

As recruits go, Polk is an odd one - he plays guard for his high school team, but looks like a tackle at the next level, which is all bass-ackwards.  Specifically, Scout sees him as a right tackle, a slot that makes sense.  Polk's best asset is his power.  I haven't seen as many instant pancakes and downfield shoves in a highlight video since Morgan Moses.  I'm not saying Polk is that powerful, mind you.  Moses all but left bulldozer tracks on the field.  The running play would go for four yards and the defensive end would go twenty and end up making a contoured crater in the earth like Wile E. Coyote falling off another cliff.  Polk is nowhere near that.  But he is powerful.  Several highlights show off a collapsed pocket around the quarterback and one DT who had to watch the fun from afar; Polk has a habit of pass-blocking by pouncing off his stance and driving forward much the same as if he were run-blocking.  As is often the case with guys who are that strong, his techniques probably need work.

The reason he's a tackle is his 6'6" size, from which he'll need to convert about 10-15 pounds from fat to muscle and then work himself up around 300, which is very doable.  The reason he's a right tackle is his strength is ahead of his footwork and technique and will be for a while, and more than anything UVA needs to get some strength onto the field.

Further good news for UVA fans is the fact that Polk intends to enroll early, and has already signed his grant-in-aid.  This is, by the way, not binding like an LOI - it commits UVA's money to Polk but doesn't tie him to UVA.  But it at least signals his intent to stick around, though it won't stop other schools from being nosy if there's a coaching change.  The fact that they've already been poking around is probably proof they'll try again if given the chance, and Polk is probably the O-line recruit we can least afford to lose.  Early enrollment accomplishes a couple things, though.  Besides the obvious, which is the extra training camp time, Polk can count against the 2014 class and help UVA push past the limit of 25, which I think they'll do.

Once here, Polk will have two years to get his shit together, one of which will hopefully be a redshirt year because it should always be.  There won't be much work for him as a redshirt freshman either, which is also just fine.  There are three sophomores - Eric Smith, Sadiq Olanrewaju, and Michael Mooney - currently working at tackle, with Jake Fieler redshirting.  That top three could be there a while, and they graduate following the 2016 season.  Polk is a prospective redshirt sophomore in 2017 and that's when his shot will come.  Right now, he's a very likely front-runner for a starting spot that year.

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