Mike Pollak (OT)
Perhaps the strongest and toughest blocker in the Pac-10 Conference, the Sun Devils relied on the leader of their line to stabilize the offense up front.
Despite having five starters return to the offensive line in 2007, the unit struggled, with Pollak being the lone bright spot while ASU quarterbacks were sacked 55 times.
One of the top centers in the nation, Pollak improved significantly in each of his four seasons on the field at ASU. He follows a lineage of accomplished athletes at the center position in recent years for the Sun Devils, including All-Pac-10 Conference honorees Grayling Love, Drew Hodgdon and Scott Peters.
The versatile and powerful interior lineman performed extremely well and was named to the 2007 Rimington Trophy Watch List, an award annually presented to the nation's top center. He was awarded the Tim Landers Iron Man Award, given to the Sun Devil with exemplary work ethic in the weight room, on the field or in the community. Pollak also won the Cecil Bono Team Captain Award and the Pat Tillman Award at the end of his collegiate career. He excelled in the classroom, where he was one of eight Sun Devils on the 2007 roster and one of five ASU offensive linemen to have earned his undergraduate degree prior to his final season.
Pollak attended Corona del Sol High School, where he earned two votes in The Long Beach Press-Telegram's "Best In The West" rating. He was a member of The Tacoma News Tribune's "Western 100" and rated as the eighth-best prospect in the state of Arizona by Super Prep. He added All-Region honors from Prep Star and ranked as the sixth-best offensive lineman in the West by PacWestFootball.com.
Pollak was named first-team All-Arizona by The Arizona Republic, as he also collected first-team All-City and All-Conference recognition as a senior. That year, he graded 92% for pass blocking, 86% for run blocking and generated 67 knockdowns, picking up Super All-State first-team honors on offense from the Phoenix Metro Football Magazine.
The versatile lineman played offensive guard and defensive tackle, but had not played football before coming to Corona. He was also a standout baseball pitcher, earning first-team All-Region, All-East Valley, All-Conference and honorable mention All-State accolades as a junior, playing three seasons on the baseball diamond. He also served as the captain of his baseball and football teams.
Pollak enrolled at Arizona State in 2003, spending the season competing on the scout team as an offensive guard and center. When All-Pac-10 center Drew Hodgdon was injured in fall camp, Pollak stepped in and started the team's first four games at center. He contributed to a passing offense that led the Pac-10 and ranked fifth in the nation with an average of 317.3 yards per game.
As a sophomore, Pollak played in all 12 games, starting the team's final five contests (started six total) for All-Pac-10 honoree Grayling Love, who was sidelined due to an injury. In the games in which he started, ASU averaged 510.7 yards per game in total offense and scored an average of 36.0 points per game.
In 2006, Pollak was named All-Pac-10 Conference second-team. He was chosen the team's Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman and earned Hard Hat Player honors for his efforts in the team's offseason strength and conditioning program for the third-straight season. With him in the pivot, ASU averaged 367.3 yards per game in total offense.
The Sun Devils won their first eight games under new head coach Dennis Erickson, as Pollak garnered first-team All-Pac-10 Conference honors. He allowed four of the team's 55 quarterback sacks, but generally did a steady job of protecting QB Rudy Carpenter in the pocket. ASU would go on to average 399.6 yards per game. The center would post 80 knockdowns, coming up with an impressive 15 touchdown-resulting blocks.
Attended Corona del Sol (Tempe, Az.) High School, playing football for head coach Gary Venturo...Earned two votes in The Long Beach Press-Telegram's "Best In The West" rating...Member of The Tacoma News Tribune's "Western 100" and rated as the eighth-best prospect in the state of Arizona by Super Prep...Added All-Region honors from Prep Star and ranked as the sixth-best offensive lineman in the West by PacWestFootball.com...Named first-team All-Arizona by The Arizona Republic, as he also collected first-team All-City and All-Conference recognition as a senior...That year, he graded 92% for pass blocking, 86% for run blocking and generated 67 knockdowns, picking up Super All-State first-team honors on offense from the Phoenix Metro Football Magazine...The versatile lineman played offensive guard and defensive tackle, but had not played football before coming to Corona...Standout baseball player as a pitcher, earning first-team All-Region, All-East Valley, All-Conference and honorable mention All-State accolades as a junior, playing three seasons on the baseball diamond...Also served as the captain of his base-ball and football teams.
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Positives: Looks a little soft in the midsection, but shows good upper-body thickness and strong hands to generate the punishing jolt to rock defenders back on their heels...Has natural strength, rather than ripped muscle tone, but has been a weight-room award winner for the Sun Devils in each of his last four seasons...Shows good awareness to stunts and games, coming off the snap with good desire and intent to control and finish...Best when asked to widen the rush lanes, as he stays lower in his pads firing off the ball than when retreating in pass protection...Has very good timed speed (does not translate in the open field when he takes poor angles into the second level)...All-out battler in one-on-one situations and has a good grasp of the playbook, making all of the blocking calls up front...Good team leader whose work ethic is emulated by the squad's younger players... Must do a better job adjusting to counter moves, but comes off the snap with arms raised, ready to lock on and establish leverage and position...Plays on his feet and uses his hands effectively to redirect the defender with authority...Doesn't explode with his hips, but can generate decent pop on contact...Made strides as a senior in attempts to unlock his hips and power through his low blocks (needs to develop better consistency)...Can shock defenders once he shoots his hands and has the reach to extend in his blocks and steer (good mauler)...Consistent in gaining movement when he keeps his hands active...On drive blocks, he works hard to position and wall off (struggles vs. slants and counters)...Not really a road grader, but gets good movement through proper knee bend...Is adequate at reaching his block point on the short pull (will get overaggressive and struggle to engage defenders in the second level)...When he keeps his pads down, he is very effective in setting, sliding and executing a hand jolt to protect the pocket (just lacks lateral recovery ability)...Still working on improving it more, but he can mirror well when staying with his man in the short area...Anticipates switches well and easily picks up the blitz.
Negatives: Despite his impressive weight room numbers, he has only adequate muscle tone and a soft midsection...Generates efficient initial quickness into the defender lining up over his head, but struggles with foot quickness and agility to engage a slanting defensive tackle or to quickly adjust to a counter move across his face...Also struggles some locating a moving linebacker when working in space...Needs to demonstrate better consistency in sustaining blocks (must hold them longer rather than slip off after the initial hit)...Better playing vs. a classic 4-3 defense, as he does not have the anchor to sustain vs. nose guards (can get pushed back by defenders lining over his helmet)...Has good straight-line speed on pulls and traps, but is slow to reach the second level and takes poor angles in attempts to finish off linebackers (had just five downfield blocks as a senior)...Has a strong base, but gets too narriow and, when he stands tall, defenders can push him back into the pocket...Marginal deep snapper and is not effective on his shotgun snaps.
Compares To: JEFF FAINE-New Orleans...Both centers have impressive raw power and good initial quickness, but struggle with movement, especially vs. a slanting defensive tackle. Pollak has a very strong hand punch, but can be pushed back into the pocket by a physical nose guard lining up over his helmet, as he tends to get a little bit narrow in his base. He is efficient on the short pull, but when asked to get out and neutralize linebackers, he looks slow and takes poor angles into the second level. His best asset is his hands, as he uses them to generate a strong punch and when he can cleanly latch on, he can gain leverage and move the defender away from the action.
No injuries reported.
Copyright NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange.
Q & A
- Growing up, who was your favorite NFL player and why?
- Michael Strahan. I admire how hard he plays on the field.
- In college, what player hit you the hardest? Who was the recipient of your best hit?
- Lofa Tatupu (USC)
- What TV-show marathon will keep you on the couch all day?
- South Park or Mythbusters
- What are the five most-played songs in your iPod? What's the one song you hope nobody ever finds out is in your iPod?
- Enter Sandman - Metallica; My Curse - Killswith Engage; I Stand Alone - Godsmack; Perserverance - Hatebreed; Kick Start My Heart - Motley Crue; Journey - Don't Stop Believing.
- What celebrity would play you in the movie version of your life and why?
- Vince Vaughn. It would make for a funny movie.
- What is one thing your teammates don't know about you?
- I'm a bit of a nerd off the field.
- What's your proudest moment in football? Proudest moment off the field?
- Walking up to my parents on the 50-yard line during Senior Day; Being able to stay close to home and watch my brother and sister grow up.
- When you play Madden, what team do you use? Do you put yourself on the team?
- The New York Giants.
- Who has been the biggest influence on your football career and how?
- My dad. He always reminds me that I can keep getting better.