Many were surprised early Monday morning to discover that new Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman’s first order of business, well at least football business, on the 40 Acres was offering a three-star offensive tackle out of Denton — Grant Polley.
Come on, there must be higher orders of business out there like the Houston Episcopal duo of Marvin Wilson and Walker Little, who by the way may be headed down to the 40 Acres tomorrow, according to some sources. Both of those athletes would be excellent additions next year, and I know everyone hopes they choose to be a part of the Longhorn’s program, so why was Polley in Herman’s first order of business?
The answer is quite simple.
Polley is not your typical three-star recruit. In fact, anyone watching Polley’s senior season film might be reminded of a former three-star recruit who has held down the tackle position quite nicely in Austin for the past two years. Looking at their vitals, they’re quite similar.
Polley is listed at 6’4, 270 pounds. Williams was listed at 6’5, 271 pounds out of Coppell High School in 2014. Polley runs a 5.10 40; a fairly quick time for a tackle. Williams’ 40 time was listed at 5.10. Polley has a 28-inch vertical, compared to Williams’ 29 inches. Williams bench/squat vitals were 335/435 and Polley is 315/400, but in the next few months those numbers are likely to rise.
Looking simply at the physical talent, Polley and WIlliams seem a lot alike, but that is not what is most impressive about Polley.
Watching the film on this kid should make any football fan drool. This kid is a well-coached, well-disciplined, football player.
He’s a detail-orientated, well-oiled football machine. In run blocking, this kid is all hustle and his quickness impresses. He has an excellent first step and he stays low through his block. Polley is strong enough to handle exterior defensive linemen, but still has the quickness and agility to block on the second level against a linebacker.
On contact, Polley shows excellent form. He has a good hip roll and his footwork is a coach’s dream. In pass blocking, Polley is light on his feet. He seems to glide into his pass-blocking position, almost as if he’s skiing. Not many 6’5, 270-pound eighteen-year-olds can master that footwork, but Polley does (a lot like Conner Williams).
Watching him, it’s evident that this recruit not only has the physical talent to be a solid football player at the highest level, but has the work ethic and attention to detail, as well.
One of Herman’s favorite plays is the smoke screen, and Polley’s senior highlight reel is full of examples of how he executes the play with flawless precision. He engages the defensive end prior to discarding him, making sure to use his playside hand to force the end up field (so he cannot retrace his steps to the football) then races to the cornerback, who never stands a chance against Polley.
This play is the perfect example of how detail-orientated Polley is, how physically talented he is, how he hustles every play. He’s a football coach’s dream.
So please, Mr. Polley, let me be the first to say, from Burnt Orange Nation, it is too cold in Boulder. We need you in sunny Austin, Texas. You are not a three-star to us, you’re a five-star. We understand why Herman made you a top priority, and we know exactly what a player of your abilities will look like in two years, because we have him on campus now.
We look forward to having another one on campus in a few months, Mr. Polley.