Moultrie (Ga.) Colquitt County High School Coach Rush Propst has been a head football coach for 27 years, but he's never seen a player like Arkansas commitment Kiel Pollard.
"He's the most unique player I've ever coached," Propst said. "I've coached some good ones now. He's just different from any player I've ever seen."
Pollard, 6-2, 225, 4.68 seconds in the 40-yard dash, chose the Hogs on Sept. 25 over approximately 17 other scholarship offers from schools like California, Central Florida, Wake Forest, Boston College and Cincinnati.
He helped the Packers to its second consecutive 6A state title and a record of 30-0 the past two seasons.
Pollard was rated by a three-star plus recruit before the season by CBS Sports Network national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming but is now considered a four-star recruit. Lemming upped Pollard's rating after Pollard caught 76 passes for 1,163 yards and 18 touchdowns. He was named the Offensive Player of the Year in Class 6A, the highest classification in Georgia.
"I just don't see anybody like him and I think he's the best football player in the state of Georgia," Propst said. "I really do and I think he proved that all year long."
Other recruiting services questioned his speed and had him rated a three-star before the season.
"People want to say he's not fast enough to play with the big boys, they're so foolish," Propst said. "It's pure stupidity is what I call it."
"I can tell you this, I've coached a bunch of 4.4 guys and 4.5 guys that couldn't play wide receiver. I've played the position and I just believe there's more to wide receiver than raw speed, vertical stretch speed."
Scout.com is one of the services that recently upgraded Pollard to a four-star recruit.
"The guy from Scout called me and said we blew it," Propst said.
Pollard also rushed 27 times for 53 yards and 13 touchdowns while operating out of the Wildcat formation. Propst said Pollard isn't your normal receiver.
"He power cleans 325 as a wide receiver," Propst said of Pollard, who is being recruited as an athlete by Arkansas. "That is big linebacker, SEC 5-star linebacker weight. There's a lot of guys that line up in the SEC that play linebacker and don't power clean 325. So he's an extremely strong person. He's close to a 500-pound squatter, over 300 pounds bencher."
South Carolina made a late offer to Pollard on Dec. 9 after the hiring of Coach Will Muschamp. Pollard has plans to take an official visit to Columbia on Jan. 15.
Propst, who won five state titles at Hoover High School in Alabama before going to Colquitt County, said Pollard finished with 199 receptions in his career.
"Here's the most amazing stat, 199 clips of him catching the ball, not running the ball, catching the ball," Propst said. "Receiving the ball, he has never been tackled by one person, he's never been tackled by the first person that got to him. Never."
Propst told Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema of the streak before the season when Pollard had 123 receptions.
"He didn't believe me when I told him that," Propst said. "... He sat down himself and watched it. Every single snap. He said 'Rush when I got to 97, 98 and 99, I said you know what? Rush maybe right.' "
Propst said he has gotten to know Bielema because the Hogs signed Pollard's teammate, freshman defensive lineman T.J. Smith in the 2015 class.
"Coach Bielema is just a great guy, first of all," Propst said. "If I was an Arkansas fan, I would be excited where he's taking the program. He is my kind of guy. I think he's a heck of a football coach."
Propst estimates he's called Bielema about 25 times over the past year.
"I have never ever picked up the phone and called him or texted him and him not call me right back," Propst said. "He usually answers the phone. If he doesn't, he'll text me within a minute, minute and half to two minutes after I call and he'll say 'Hey I'm in a meeting I'll call you when I can.' "
Defensive line coach Rory Segrest, who recruits Georgia for the Hogs, said he has known Propst for 20 years.
"He's a good person number one, which is important," Propst said of Segrest. "A lot of those guys won't tell you the truth. He'll tell you the truth. Does a great job. He's been around the block a time or two. He was in the NFL. I consider him just as much as a friend as I do a coach."
E-mail Richard Davenport at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sports on 01/04/2016
Print Headline: Georgia athlete comes strongly recommended