Mike Pollard
    Mike  Pollard

    RS Senior

    Long Beach

    High School:

    Height / Weight:
    6-0 / 220




    The heady, steady Pollard started for his second season at middle linebacker as a senior in 2002. Overall in 2002 while starting all 13 games, he had 49 tackles, including 8 for losses of 27 yards (with an 8-yard sack), plus had an interception, 3 deflections, 2 fumble recoveries and a forced fumble. He made 2002 All-Pac-10 honorable mention. He was invited to play in the 2003 Hula Bowl. He had 3 tackles and forced a fumble (which he recovered to set up a USC TD) against Auburn. He added 4 stops (including 2 for losses, with a sack) at Colorado, 4 tackles and a fumble recovery (to set up a USC TD) at Kansas State, a tackle for a loss and a deflection against Oregon State, 4 stops (1 for a loss) at Washington State and a tackle against California. He had 4 tackles (1 for a loss) versus both Washington and Oregon, then 6 stops at Stanford. He had 3 stops (with a sack) and a deflection against Arizona State and another 3 (with 1 for a loss) and a deflection at UCLA. Against Notre Dame, he added 6 stops (1 for a loss) and an interception. He had a team-best 6 tackles against Iowa in the Orange Bowl.

    Pollard, after a fine showing in 2001 spring practice at weakside linebacker, was moved to middle linebacker in 2001 fall camp and earned the starting job there as a junior. Overall in 2001 while starting USC's first 11 games (he missed the Utah game after spraining his left knee in practice), he had 81 tackles (second on USC), including 8 for losses of 17 yards, a team-best 7 deflections, 1 fumble recovery and 2 forced fumbles. He led USC in tackles in 4 games (Oregon, Notre Dame, Oregon State and California). He tied for fifth in the Pac-10 in forced fumbles (2). He made the 2001 All-Pac-10 honorable mention squad. He won USC's Jack Oakie "Rise and Shine" Award (for biggest hit of the year). After the season, he had arthroscopic surgery to remove torn cartilage in his left knee. In the San Jose State opener, he had 5 stops while forcing a fumble that USC recovered and deflecting a pass that Troy intercepted. He added 6 stops against Kansas State, a game-best 11 tackles (1 for a loss) at Oregon, 9 tackles and 3 deflections versus Stanford and 7 tackles (2 for losses) at Washington. Against Arizona State, he had 5 stops, recovered a fumble and deflected a pass, then had a game-high 11 tackles (1 for a loss) and forced a fumble (which USC recovered to set up a TD) at Notre Dame. At Arizona, he had 7 tackles and deflected a pass that USC intercepted. He had a game-high 11 tackles (with a team-best 3 for losses) against Oregon State, a team-best 6 tackles with a deflection at California and 3 stops against UCLA.

    Pollard was a reserve middle linebacker and played on special teams as a sophomore in 2000. Overall in 2000 while appearing in 7 games (Penn State and Oregon and then the final 5 contests, California, Arizona State, Wahsington State, UCLA and Notre Dame), he made 2 tackles.

    Pollard, who figured to contend for a starting job at linebacker as a sophomore in 1999, suffered torn ligaments in his left knee during 1999 spring drills and redshirted the 1999 season while rehabilitating.

    Pollard served as the backup to Chris Claiborne at middle linebacker as a freshman in 1998. Overall in 1998 while appearing in 10 games (all but Purdue, Washington and UCLA), he had 8 tackles, including 2 for losses of 10 yards (with a 7-yard sack), plus he forced a fumble (against San Diego State). He had 2 tackles at Florida State and Washington State. Originally a 1997 signee, he entered USC in the spring of 1998 as a first-year freshman after improving his test scores at a junior college.

    He actually signed with USC in 1997, but did not qualify academically, so he elected to attend Cypress (Calif.) College that season as a part-time student (he didn't play football there).

    He was named a 1996 Super Prep All-American, Prep Star All-American, USA Today All-USA honorable mention, Super Prep All-Farwest, Prep Star Best in the West, Tacoma News Tribune Western 100, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best of the Rest, Cal-Hi Sports All-State first team, All-CIF Southern Section first team, All-CIF Division I first team, Los Angeles Times All-South Coast/Southeast first team, Long Beach Press-Telegram Dream Team and All-Moore League Defensive MVP as a senior at Poly High in Long Beach (Calif.). In 1996, he made 125 tackles, 7 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and 4 pass deflections. His best outing in 1996 was 19 solo tackles and 6 tackles for a loss in a single game. As a 1995 junior, he only played in 2 games (getting 25 tackles, with 7 tackles for losses) before tearing ligaments in his right knee and having surgery. He had 76 tackles and 5 sacks as a 1994 sophomore. During his 3-year career, Poly went 31-7 (including 12-1 in 1995) and twice advanced to the CIF Division I semifinals. He also played baseball at Poly. Current Trojans Kareem Kelly, Darrell Rideaux, DeShaun Hill, Hershel Dennis and Winston Justice also prepped at Poly.

    He's an international relations major at USC.

    His style: "I like to take lanes and make plays behind the line. I like to use my speed and instincts to get into the backfield before the play develops." His doubters: "Hearing 'Mike Pollard can't do this, Mike Pollard won't be an athlete at USC,' I use that as my motivation?It's a challenge. I just want to prove everybody wrong?It's been a long journey. I believe that while some of the events of the past have been rough, everything happens for a reason?I know if I believe in my skills and believe in God, everything will work out." Chris Claiborne, USC's former Butkus Award winning linebacker who he backed up in 1998: "When I played behind Chris as a freshman, I paid close attention to everything he did in hopes of being able to do well once I got the chance to play the position?I learned how to be patient, being open to everything and learing what it takes to be good. He took the time to help me get better so I could take over his position when he left. He was a great person to learn from?I want to follow in his footsteps. You never know what's going to happen. Only time will tell, and I have time on my side...I am getting more comfortable and confident. I want to prove to people I am worthy of succeeding Chris. He is the perfect person to pattern the football aspect of my life after. He is open to criticism and, mentally, he is just awesome. Maybe someday I'll be even better than him." Coming back from his 1999 knee injury, the second of his CAREER: "That knee injury was the worst challenge I had to overcome. It was more emotional than anything else. I went from playing a lot in my freshman year and then not playing at all, which was difficult?It's over, that's what I thought. I thought my football career was over. I thought I wouldn't play ball anymore?I came out to the following spring's practice (in 2000) at about 250 pounds. I tried to get through spring ball and I was pathetic. I said to myself, 'I've got to change everything about me.'?When I got demoted down to the scout team, it humbled me and made me mad. I got made at everyone and it made me work harder. There were a lot of people who didn't think I could come back after a second knee injury and I had to work hard to prove it to both myself and those who doubted me?I was motivated by the career of Anthony Munoz, who had five knee surgeries. He lasted so long after all those surgeries. He barely played at USC because of them, but he had a long career afterwards. If he had had five surgeries on his knees and could do that, I knew I could do it with just two. After that, it was all about getting my mindset right and being determined?The most important things I have learned from the knee surgeries are to stay with something until the end, stay focused and hard work does pay off eventually?Now, I am a stronger, faster person and things have been working out great." Sitting out the 1997 season: "That was tough. I felt totally out of sync...I didn't even go around USC. I watched the games, but I didn't feel like I belonged...It kind of hurt. Nobody talked about me, and when they did, all they would mention was the academic problems...God puts you in certain situations to challenge you. If you handle things right, you become a better person...The experience really matured me. I am so appreciative of where I am now. Like they say, you never know how good you have it until you lose it."

    USC linebackers coach Nick Holt: "Mike is never going to be the biggest guy or fastest guy on the field. But he works his butt off and makes a lot of big plays." Former USC Butkus Award winning linebacker Chris Claiborne: "There's no limit for Mike." USC safety Troy Polamalu: "He was third string, but then worked his way up, which is the best way to prove yourself to the team."

    1998 (Fr.)... 8 2/10 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
    2000 (So.)? 2 0/0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
    2001 (Jr.)? 81 8/17 7 1 0 0 0.0 0 0
    2002 (Sr.)? 49 8/27 3 2 1 0 0.0 0 0
    CAREER??.14018/54 10 3 1 0 0.0 0 0
    Auburn* 3 0/0 0 1 0 0 0.0 0 0
    Colorado* 4 1/4 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
    Kansas State* 4 0/0 0 1 0 0 0.0 0 0
    Oregon State* 1 1/1 1 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
    Wash. State* 4 1/2 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
    California* 1 0/0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
    Washington* 4 1/1 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
    Oregon* 4 1/1 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
    Stanford* 6 0/0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
    Arizona State* 3 1/8 1 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
    UCLA* 3 1/7 1 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
    Notre Dame* 6 1/3 0 0 1 0 0.0 0 0
    Iowa (Orange)* 6 0/0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
    2002 (Sr.)? 49 8/27 3 2 1 0 0.0 0 0
    San Jose St.* 5 0/0 1 0
    Kansas State* 6 1/2 0 0
    Oregon* 11 1/5 0 0
    Stanford* 9 0/0 3 0
    Washington* 7 2/2 0 0
    Arizona State* 5 0/0 1 1
    Notre Dame* 11 1/1 0 0
    Arizona* 7 0/0 1 0
    Oregon State* 11 3/7 0 0
    California* 6 0/0 1 0
    UCLA* 3 0/0 0 0
    2001 (Jr.)? 81 8/17 7 1
    California 1 0/0 0 0
    UCLA 1 0/0 0 0
    2000 (So.)? 2 0/0 0 0
    San Diego St. 1 1/3 0 0
    Florida State 2 0/0 0 0
    Arizona State 1 0/0 0 0
    California 1 0/0 0 0
    Wash. State 2 0/0 0 0
    Stanford 1 1/7 0 0
    1998 (Fr.)... 8 2/10 0 0