Ravenwood’s Myles Pollard and Carter Miller both signed early with 12-1 playoff semifinalists Wednesday.
Pollard signed with Michigan, which faces Georgia in a College Football Playoff semifinal at the Orange Bowl Dec. 31.
Miller inked with James Madison, which visits North Dakota State in an FCS semi Friday night.
“It’s a great school, a great program.’” Pollard said. “I mean, why not University of Michigan? They’re playing well this year and I just think that they’re going to continue to play well for years to come.”
Michigan won its first Big Ten title since 2004 a week after ending an eight-game skid against archrival Ohio State.
James Madison is the Colonial Athletic Association co-champion with Villanova.
“James Madison’s got a great culture, they’re winners,” Miller said. “The coaching staff is great, they’re geniuses, they take care of their guys. I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
Miller (6-2, 285) and Pollard (6-2, 185) will both enroll in college early and attend the national championship if their teams make it that far.
Pollard joins another former Ravenwood star, Junior Colson, who was named to the Freshman All-American team as a linebacker two weeks ago.
“He’s told me that all the coaching staff is going to be there for you and as long as you put in the work everything is there for you,” Pollard said. “I can’t wait to ball with Junior again and all my other teammates, so it’s going to be fun.”
Pollard plans to enroll in the business school to pursue a real-estate career.
“Their business school is one of the best in America, so that was huge for me,” Pollard said. “My whole family does (real estate). They just taught me the ropes.”
Michigan was coming off a disappointing 2-4 season hampered by a COVID-19 outbreak when Pollard committed to the Wolverines in July.
“People had a lot of doubt before the year,” Pollard said. “I just had faith in them and faith in Coach (Jim) Harbaugh and he’s doing it now so congrats to him and the whole team.”
Harbaugh’s future with the team was uncertain during the preseason, but the team’s success this year has made Pollard feel better about his decision.
“No questions about Harbaugh leaving or anything so it’s made it even stronger for me to commit,” Pollard said.
He isn’t the only Pollard in Michigan’s signing class. Micah Pollard, a linebacker from Jacksonville, Fla., also signed with the Wolverines.
Myles Pollard returned an interception 99 yards for a touchdown in a win over Pope John Paul II in October.
“I was surprised they were throwing the ball on the goal line, but they did,” Pollard said. “(The receiver) ran a slant, I just read his hips, he came back out and I picked it off and took it to the house.”
Pollard’s recruiting stock skyrocketed after his strong showing in a loss to top-ranked IMG Academy (Fla.) in a game televised by ESPNU in 2020. He made a big hit against an IMG running back.
“A lot of college coaches really saw my full potential after that game, guarding Ja’Corey Brooks, a receiver for Alabama now,” Pollard said. “Shut him down and they just believed in me. It blew up after that.”
After dozens of offers, Pollard narrowed his final three choices to Michigan, Auburn and Oklahoma.
Pollard, who has 4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash, says former Brentwood Academy star Jalen Ramsey of the Rams is his favorite cornerback.
Pollard’s dad played for Middle Tennessee State, one uncle played for Tennessee-Martin and another uncle played for Tennessee and the Dallas Cowboys.
Six defensive backs signed with Michigan, making it the Wolverines’ most recruited position.
“Our starters are getting up there in age in class and this is the future and I think a lot of these youngsters will have the license and the ability to play right away,” Harbaugh told the In the Trenches podcast. “Will Johnson has really been the anchor to this entire class.”
Johnson is a five-star cornerback whose dad, Deon, played for Michigan.
“(Myles) Pollard: just turn on the first play of his highlight tape, you know, the very first one, and he looks like Jack Tatum coming up there to hit somebody and the movement skills are really outstanding,” Harbaugh said.
Tatum was a former Pro Bowl safety nicknamed “The Assassin” for his hard-hitting playing style.
Pollard defended only 16 passes this season as opponents avoided him.
“I think it was kind of a reputation thing, right,” Ravenwood coach Will Hester said. “People know who you are and that kind of stuff and kind of are afraid to go at you.”
Pollard had 37 tackles and eight pass breakups. He also caught two TD passes as a receiver.
“He’s a super physical kid who jumped on the radar last year against IMG with a big tackle that kind of went viral,” Hester said. “In the end, his work ethic and commitment to his craft is probably what stands out the most. Great leader.”
Miller graded out at 93% or better in every game this season after moving to Brentwood from Aledo, Texas, after his dad got transferred at work.
He had 91 pancake blocks for the Raptors (10-3), who made it to the Class 6A quarterfinals.
“Like by the time the game is done, I just want to make sure you feel me,” Miller said.
Miller’s other finalists were Arkansas State and Alabama-Birmingham.
“JMU was the whole package: great football, good culture, great degree, great education,” said Miller, who will room with the quarterback.
Miller mostly played guard, but filled in at center due to injuries. He also played defensive line and will be a center at JMU.
“He plays to the echo of the whistle every time,” Hester said. “His ability and desire to finish blocks is what separates him from other guys.”
One of the Raptors’ best running plays was the cannon two, when Miller was a pulling guard who often overpowered smaller defensive backs.
“He’s a super physical kid, a super smart kid, but his leadership skills are off the charts,” Hester said. “Did a phenomenal job of coming in at Christmas last year and rising to the top as one of the leaders of the team. That’s a testament to his character and work ethic and I’m so excited to see what he does in the future.”