USC Football

Potential Breakout Player: CJ Pollard

July 16, 2019

USC DB C.J. Pollard was destined to be a Trojan.  He’s the son of former All-American USC defensive back  Marvin Pollard (1988-91) and his mom, Pam, is also a USC alum.

The four-star from Serra HS in Gardena (CA) had offers from big time schools such as Michigan, Oregon and Arizona State and could have blazed his own trail, but always knew he wanted to be a Trojan  Now it’s time for Pollard to write  his own piece of Trojan history and build off the experience he gained last season while appearing in 11 games.

There’s no one more familiar with Defensive Coordinator Clancy Pendergast’s system than C.J. Pollard as he’s set to begin his fourth fall camp in two weeks. The (RS) Junior will be extremely valuable in a variety of ways with high football IQ, plus he’ll provide the younger players someone to look to when they have questions.  And with a heavy injection of youth joining the secondary in 2019, his knowledge will be tapped into.

Pollard was a non participant this spring while recovering from a small hairline fracture on the right side of is foot, but should be close to 100% by the time fall camp opens in a few weeks. 

He recently updated USC Scoop and let us know that he’s got his weight up to 202 pounds on his 6-1 frame and that should only benefit him in battling for a starting safety spot.  Last season Pollard appeared in 11 games and finished with four tackles in his only start on the road against Texas.

Heading into fall camp and knowing the playbook like the back of his hand, Pollard is a prime candidate for a breakout season in 2019 for the Trojans. While Talanoa Hufanga and Isaiah Pola-Mao are definitive safeties, Pollard’s versatile enough to play either safety spot, nickel, and if called upon cornerback.  He will assuredly be a part of the rotation, so the question is will he be starting  and where...or will he be the ultimate utility man? 

Will Pendergast hold true to form and rely on his veterans and Pollard ahead of Pola-Mao who’s still rehabbing his shoulder injury from 2018?  Or will Pollard look to battle for the nickle spot? In the end, Pollard will be a busy guy no matter what.

Pollard is technically sound, likes playing in the box, and isn’t shy about sticking his nose in the fray to sniff out the ball carrier. 

Coach Greg Burns recruited Pollard out of high school when he was the defensive backs coach at Cal, so the two are familair with each other.  We asked Him in his limited time with Coach Burns what’s been the biggest difference.  “The attention to detail and fundamentals.” 

With Pollard knowing the defense, which allows him to react quickly and play aggressively, his productivity should increase significantly his season. He’s also well equipped to be the leader of the USC secondary.

If you missed the previous entries in our summer Potential Breakout Player series you can catch up with the links provided below.:

OLB: Eli'jah Winston

WR: Devon Williams

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