In the Trenches
Former Trojan finds success in new role
MEADVILLE – Faced with the scenario that his college football career could end, Keiton Pollock traded the glitz and glory of being a wide receiver for the grit and grime of life in the trenches.
Talk about taking one for the team.
The former Mount Union Area High School standout heeded the advice of his coaches at Division III Allegheny College, located 40 miles south of Erie, and switched positions before his junior season.
“I liked playing receiver a lot, but I’ve grown to like playing on the line,” the 6-5, 240-pound Pollock said. “It’s very different, and I was very hesitant to do it at first. My coaches thought I should make the change.
“As a player, you have to believe in your coaches and in what they say,” he adds.
The move to the offensive line paid off almost immediately.
After playing in only one game his first two seasons, Pollock saw action in six games as a junior. This past season, he played in all 10 games, including making nine starts at left tackle.
“Keiton is a great person with a strong work ethic and passion for the game,” Allegheny coach Rich Nagy said. “He has a great love for his teammates and finds time to give back to the community as well.”
Allegheny dropped six of its first seven games before ending the season with three-straight wins to finish 4-6.
Pollock will graduate this spring with a degree in community and justice studies, along with a minor in psychology. He plans to pursue a career in law enforcement.
“As a staff, the biggest thing about Keiton that made us feel that he was a college football player was his unselfishness,” former Mount Union coach Matt Young said. “He truly was a team-first guy. I think he has proved that in college by playing several positions and doing what is best for the team.
“Keiton was a great player for Mount Union and it has been great to see him on a college roster for four years,” Young adds.
Young was Pollock’s head coach during his junior and senior seasons and was an assistant coach during Pollock’s sophomore and freshman years. The Trojans went undefeated at 10-0 during his junior campaign, which is one of Pollock’s favorite football memories.
“Keiton was a 6-foot-5 wide receiver and defensive end for us,” Young said. “He was very thin. He has worked hard to get bigger and stronger.”
No easy task considering how lanky Pollock was when he first arrived on the Allegheny campus.
“I put on about 30 to 40 pounds when I switched positions,” Pollock recalls. “I ate four to five meals a day and worked out six days a week.”
Pollock’s physical stature wasn’t the only obstacle he had to overcome to made the position change. He also had to learn and develop an entirely new skill set. Make that sets as he tried to three different positions before landing on the offensive line.
“I came in as a wide receiver, but deep into my freshman year, I moved to defensive end,” Pollock said. “After my sophomore year, I went to tight end. I officially moved to tackle by the end of my junior year. I had pretty much no clue what I was doing. It’s crazy considering I was a receiver in high school.”
Making as many position changes as Pollock did in four seasons certainly tested his dedication to the game. He says he stuck with it “for the love of the game. In college, you have early mornings and late nights. You have to love the game or it takes its toll.
“I love the culture here,” he said. “I couldn’t imagine giving up football for anything.”
Fortunately, for Pollock, it didn’t come to that. He feels blessed and has cherished the opportunity to spend time playing a game that has meant so much to him over the years.
“To the outside world, (playing on the offensive line) is a thankless job,” he said. “(It’s rewarding) when the quarterback and running backs come up to you and thank you all the time. You’re blocking for them and giving up your body for them.”