Penn Hills’ Pollard will walk on to Akron football team

Sunday, February 14, 2021 | 9:01 AM

Senior Dontae Pollard was hoping to have a strong final season for Penn Hills in an effort to increase college interest. However, a leg injury cut his season short after five games.

After mulling a couple opportunities at the collegiate level, Pollard decided to walk on at Akron and announced it on national signing day Feb. 3.

The 6-foot-0, 195-pound corner had an opportunity to walk on at West Virginia and had a scholarship offer with West Liberty.

However, Pollard decided to go with Akron because he thought there was an opportunity to play early. Pollard will join teammate Noel Roach at Akron. Roach signed his letter of intent to play at Akron during the early signing period Dec. 16.

Pollard and Roach will have some familiar faces at Akron as they will join safety Corey Thomas and wide receiver Tony Grimes.

“I have a couple other teammates playing there so that played a role in it,” Pollard said. “I feel like I can be as good as or better than the guys that are already up there. I’m betting on myself that I could do good up there.”

Akron, which is part of the Mid-American Conference (MAC), finished 1-5 this season with a win over Bowling Green, 31-3, on Dec. 5.

Grimes finished his freshman season with 12 receptions for 130 yards receiving, including a season-high 60 yards in a loss at Ohio on Nov. 10.

Thomas finished his redshirt freshman season with 11 tackles and a fumble recovery, which occurred in the win.

Pollard was first-team all-WPIAL last season and had two interceptions this season. He also rushed for 232 yards and two touchdowns.

Penn Hills’ season came to a close after a 14-0 loss to No. 2 Gateway in the first round of the WPIAL Class 5A playoffs Oct. 30. It finished 4-4, 4-1 in Section 3-5A.

“I was potentially trying to get scholarships, but once you get hurt, a lot of schools don’t want to take that chance, which is fine. I can go prove myself another time,” Pollard said.

“I can’t control myself from getting hurt. I just need to come back a hundred times harder. If you got God, you can do anything.”

Pollard, who has been playing football since he was 6 years old, has been cleared for all activities but still is going through physical therapy four times a week to recover.

He hopes to bring the same energy he provided the Indians defense the last couple of seasons.

“They’re getting a hard worker. I’m aggressive all around and turn the defense up,” Pollard said. “I’m electric. I like to be electric in everything I do. I like to spark the room and field, as well. I feel like my play shows that.”

Pollard, who played for the Morningside Vikings in youth football, is excited to get his next chapter started and ready to prove to everyone he deserves to play at the collegiate level.

“I’m going to go to Akron with a fresh mind and coming to compete,” Pollard said.


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