Myles Pollard can’t wait to see the Auburn campus and surroundings.
Since the Tigers got involved in his recruitment, he hasn’t been able to visit Toomer’s Corner, or smell the grass of Pat Dye Field or imagine the empty 87,451 seats filled with fans.
For more than a year, the Ravenwood three-star cornerback learned all he could through virtual visits and Zoom calls because of the NCAA’s moratorium on in-person recruiting, which was enacted due to COVID-19.
“It was pretty tough,” he said.
That will soon change. The NCAA announced last week it will lift the recruiting dead period effective June 1.
Recruits figure to log thousands of travel miles during the month of June. Pollard has already announced he’ll be at Michigan June 11-13; at Oklahoma June 18-20; and at Auburn June 25-27.
The NCAA’s in-person recruiting ban lasted almost 14 months. During that time coaches couldn’t host recruits or visit them in their homes or high schools.
When Pollard wanted to know more about a program, he settled for using Google.
“I just wanted to go out and see things, with all these offers and stuff, but you can’t go see them in person and get a feel for it,” Pollard said. “They were doing virtual visits. It was all right. But I’d rather go in person and see it.”
Schools worked hard to produce virtual visits that were slick and engaging, but some of that information is already available online.
“Just the structure of the places and how it looks. A day in the life of a player of the university,” Pollard said.
Some 2021 recruits committed to schools they never were allowed to physically visit, to play under coaches they had never met in person.
Class of 2022 recruits like Pollard — whose finalists are Tennessee, Michigan, Auburn, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Washington — are fortunate to have the open road available to them this summer.
Thirty-eight of the top 50 recruits in Tennessee, according to the 247Sports Composite, remain uncommitted.
“I’m definitely excited for my senior year,” Pollard said.
He has only visited Michigan and Kentucky out of his top schools, though he plans to visit them all again before making a decision, he said.
Each place possesses qualities unavailable on a computer screen. For instance, Pollard’s visit to OU lines up with the school’s annual recruiting barbecue held at Owen Field. He’s been anxious to see Norman since the Sooners offered him in Week 4 of last season.
As for Auburn, its coaches would love to show Pollard what the school offers. The Tigers are currently outside his top six, but have begun pursuing him since hiring former Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason as defensive coordinator in January.