Pollard, a 6-foot-4 senior, blossomed in his role as the Wolfpack’s signal-caller last year, and Fields said he looked good during the team’s spring practice sessions. Pollard has already drawn some college interest from Colgate and Cornell, among others.
“He’s a great looking athlete,” Fields said. “He’s going to spend time at some summer camps this year and come back ready to play this fall.”
Pollard will be coming back to a team with a very different look after the graduation of 18 seniors.
“When you’re a single-A team, losing 18 seniors off your team looks like a bomb exploded,” Fields said. “Losing their presence and leadership will be big for us, and we’ll have to find a way to overcome that.”
Among the losses were top running back Richard Sherrell, defensive back and quarterback Max Kemether and two-way player Max Rieves.
“Those guys made all-star teams at the end of the year,” Fields added.
Also absent will be Pollard’s offensive linemen — center Everett Joiner, guards Steven Lemasters and Brennan Saul, tackles Hunter Holliday and Keiran Witharana and tight end Jordan McAlpine.
“That’s a lot of talent gone from both sides of the ball,” Fields said. “We’re going to have to get our freshman and sophomore linemen to grow and eat a lot over the summer because it’s likely they’ll see some action this fall.”
Although Whitefield lost a lot of key players, Fields liked what he saw from his group during spring practice. The cupboard won’t be entirely bare when the 2013 season begins, as Pollard will be joined by returners Braelen Phillips, Jaylen Hudson, Sky Dupree and Alex Manning, along with newcomer Lawrence Waters.
“We’re looking for a big year out of Pollard,” Fields said. “Waters sat out last year as a transfer from Pebblebrook. He’ll replace Sherrell at running back and play some linebacker for us.”
Phillips returns as a defensive back and wide receiver, while Hudson is slated to play defensive end and come off the bench as an offensive lineman. Dupree will play linebacker and see some time at running back. Manning will be back at outside linebacker.
“Dupree had a strong year for us last year,” Fields said. “He’s one of our team leaders and led us in tackles. This is a good group of skill players who were vital to our success.”
Fields will rely on some young players to fill out the roster. He understands that’s the nature of football in Class A.
“We’re young, but we make up for it with inexperience,” he quipped.
“We had two straight losing seasons, and it took our seniors to get this ship going in the right direction again last year. Variables will have to come together for us this season, like staying healthy and playing smart, but these guys are up to the challenge.”