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University of Georgia
David Pollack's impact at the University of Georgia can be measured in several ways. You can add up his 34 career sacks, which established a school record. You can compile a list of his national honors, which now includes the Maxwell Club's 10th annual Chuck Bednarik Award as the outstanding defensive player in college football for 2004.
But you can also study a photo of any Georgia home game and count all the No. 47 jerseys in the crowd. Undergrads and old grads, young people and old people, they all loved David Pollack. The 6-2, 265-pound defensive end finished his career as one of the most popular players in school history.
"People love him because he's got that reckless abandon," said David Greene, the Georgia quarterback who was Pollack's roommate and best friend for the past four years.
"No matter what he does, he wants to win," said teammate Kedric Golston. "If you're swimming, he wants to swim faster. If you're driving, he wants to drive faster. If you jump off a building, he wants to jump off a higher building. You need those types of guys in the world. They set the standard."
Pollack set the standard for Georgia defenders, earning All-America honors and helping the Bulldogs compile a 42-10 record over the past four seasons. He finished his career on a high note, earning Most Valuable Player honors in the Outback Bowl as the Bulldogs defeated Wisconsin, 24-21. Pollack had three sacks in the game and forced a critical fumble to preserve the victory for Georgia, which finished the season with a 10-3 record.
Pollack was recruited as a fullback, that's how he wound up with jersey No. 43. However, he was switched to the defensive line as a freshman, started at tackle, then was moved to end. He had 14 sacks in his first full season as a starter to lead the Southeastern Conference and rank seventh in the nation. He continued adding to that total despite teams assigning two and sometimes three men to block him.
Coach Mark Richt admits he never imagined Pollack would develop into such a dominant player. He originally thought Pollack would be "a good program guy," in other words, a hard worker who carried out his assignments without attracting much attention. Said Richt: "I had no idea he would make the impact he has."
As a sophomore, Pollack made a play that is now part of Georgia football legend. He hit South Carolina quarterback Corey Jenkins, knocked the ball loose and caught it, all in one motion, to score a touchdown that won the game and enabled the Bulldogs to earn their first SEC championship in 20 years.
"It was jaw-dropping, it was Superman-like," wrote Matthew Zemek in his Fox Sports on-line column. "David Pollack stole a win and stole the hearts of every man, woman and child in Athens, Georgia."
In December, Nolan Nawrocki of Pro Football Weekly wrote: "David Pollack is the best pure football player in the country. He's a relentless rusher with a motor that never stops and excellent football instincts. He has been matched up against big, athletic tackles his entire career and finds a way to be productive every game he plays. He has proven he could play the run strong and wears down offensive tackles with his tenacity."
Nawrocki concluded: "He will be a coveted player in the NFL draft -- the type that scouts fall in love with -- and it will be a surprise if he is still available midway through the first round."