Polite leads the way for Rams’ trench crew

Polite leads the way for Rams’ trench crew
August 20
00:00 2015

In above photo: Jac’que Polite (left) is a pre-season All-CIAA pick (right, number 62) at offensive tackle. (Photo by WSSU Athletics)

Jac’que Polite usually wins his man-on-man match-ups in the trenches. Still, he’s far from being satisfied. His prime objective on every down is to get past the line of scrimmage and put the next would-be tackler on the ground.

Polite, who plays offensive tackle for Winston-Salem State, has proven himself as a top-tier performer. As a transfer last year, he switched from the defensive line to the offensive line and eventually became a mainstay on a unit that paved the way for 35.7 points and 442.9 total offensive yards per game.

Look for more of the same this season. Polite, a junior from Ridgeland, S.C., was named to the CIAA’s pre-season All-Conference team. His return is one of the reasons why the prognosticators view the Rams as the most likely to bag a conference crown in November.

The fact that Polite plays on the left side of the line is a good indication of his value. Left tackles are prized commodities because they protect right-handed quarterbacks from taking vicious hits from their blind side. At 6-feet-5, 300 pounds, Polite has the body mass to keep sack-happy defenders at bay.

“It means a lot to play the position and handle everything that comes with it,” he said. “Hard work is what it’s all about. Having played on that side of the ball, I know what the defensive linemen are thinking and what they’re trying to do. I learn a lot by paying attention to their calls and watching for clues as they get in their stances before the play begins.”

Polite makes good use of his strength (475 pounds bench press), speed (4.9 seconds in the 40-yard dash) and deceptive quickness to pound and bedazzle his counterparts on defense. Perhaps the best example of what Polite brings to the table is a sequence from last fall in WSSU’s 34-17 victory over Livingstone College.

Rams running back Mustafa Greene got superb blocking en route to a 59-yard touchdown run. Right after he crossed the goal line, Polite was there to meet him in the end zone.

“I’m always on the move,” said Polite. “I’m always looking to get down the field to the second level [linebackers] and third level [defensive backs] to get another block. That’s a constant with me and I feel like that gives me an edge.”

Although the Rams are favored to win the CIAA, Polite understands that it’s not an automatic. WSSU typically attracts a boat load of talent. Even so, talent doesn’t guarantee championship wins. This team suffered heavy losses from a year ago. A small army of seasoned seniors (30) are gone, which means that all those newcomers will have to gel in order for the Rams to live up to those sky-is-the-limit expectations.

“With so many seniors gone, we have to replace their leadership,” he said. “There are a lot of gifted athletes who have joined us for this season. But we still have to develop chemistry with one another. Football isn’t a one-person game. The whole focus is to get better as a team.”

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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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