2019 DT Norell Pollard originally planned to kick off July with a bang and announce his commitment on Sunday — but then he got his first look at Blacksburg.
After the Hokies offered him in early May, Pollard got his first look at Virginia Tech in person on the weekend of June 9.
Soon enough, his plans to make a July 1 announcement were up in smoke, and he tweeted out his pledge to the Hokies six days later.
"I told the (coaches) right after I left, I told them that it felt like home," Pollard told The Key Play. "I had two more visits to do and out of respect I took those visits. Then I was gonna announce my commitment on July 1, but I couldn't hold it in."
The Hokies managed to beat contenders such as West Virginia, Louisville, Indiana, Central Florida, and South Florida for the rising senior out of Apopka, Florida's Wekiva HS. But even though Blacksburg may be quite far indeed from his hometown, Pollard said his first trip to Tech felt like a homecoming.
"When I went up on the visit, I felt right at home," Pollard said. "The coaching staff is great. Everything about Virginia Tech just felt right to me. I just felt like that was the place for me to be."
The 6'1", 260-pound defensive tackle says he got a chance to work out some with DL coach Charley Wiles and a few other players, tour the campus and just generally "see how they run their ship."
Wiles, his future position coach and longtime recruiter of Florida defensive linemen, especially impressed Pollard as the day went on.
"He's a great person," Pollard said. "He's got a great attitude, great personality and he knows what he's talking about."
Naturally, the visit also included plenty of quality time with Justin Fuente, Pollard's first real chance to sit down with the head Hokie.
"We got to talk and he was telling me he really liked me," Pollard said. "The whole program, they were telling me that the whole time, that they'd really love me there and they'd love for me to be part of the family."
Pollard, who's rated a 3-star (0.8696) recruit by the 247Sports Composite, said the coaches always envisioned him fitting in at Tech as a defensive tackle. Though some recruiting sites initially listed him as a defensive end, he says he's always played DT and has since put on weight to get recruited as such.
"They were just telling me I have a quick, hard first step," Pollard said. "And they were telling me how much they liked my game and how I'd fit right in. Because the defense I play now is really similar to what they play at Virginia Tech, so they were telling me how I'd fit right in to their defense."
It helped, too, that the defense he'd be fitting in to has Bud Foster's reputation for excellency attached. Even down in Florida, word has spread about how Foster's crew is a "great defense to be a part of" for defensive linemen.
"It factored in a lot," Pollard said. "I knew I was going to be in a place where, they can say it and they can back it up. I know about Virginia Tech's defense, I knew that before I went. It felt like everybody knows they're well known for their defense."
With his decision in the rearview, Pollard plans to slow things down and eventually return to Blacksburg later this fall. He notes he hasn't taken his official visit to Tech yet, and he fully plans to do so during the season, for perhaps the Hokies' biggest home game of the year.
"It'll probably be for the Notre Dame game," Pollard said.