Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. In this edition, we talk the latest with one of its top defensive back targets.
Noa Pola-Gates expected to visit Alabama this month
Noa Pola-Gates, a 4-star defensive back from Williams Field High School (Gilbert, Ariz.), didn’t like football the way he does now when he was a freshman. Pola-Gates played the majority of his ninth-grade year on the junior varsity team, so he was looking for a backup plan in case football didn’t work out.
Music was that plan.
“I’m in love with music, and I’ve always wanted to take it a notch higher than just listening to it,” Pola-Gates told SEC Country. “I want to bring a new style to music. I just want to bring a more diverse and well-rounded sound, so it could be rap music as well as reggae music. I just want to make something that sounds different.”
Pola-Gates, one of the Crimson Tide’s top defensive back targets in the 2019 class, has produced over 100 beats — primarily rap — he estimates. He’s in a group at school, consisting of around 15 students, that’s called Pink Saturn. All of the members of Pink Saturn share similar interests such as creating music and fashion design. The group has already had some success in Arizona.
“We are all into music and clothing,” Pola-Gates said of Pink Saturn. “We produce music and we have opened up for concerts. We make shirts and denim jackets, too. We have opened up for local artists and my friends opened up for [rapper] MadeinTYO and Playboi Carti.”
The Polynesian Bowl commit, whose favorite rapper is Lil Baby, said there’s nothing that particularly inspires his creative mind. He normally goes into a local studio with his friends and whatever mood he’s in, he tries to replicate that through the beat he produces.
Music was going to be the path he primarily focused on until his sophomore year. That’s when football became fun for him.
“I got the chance to play on varsity at my school that year,” Pola-Gates said. “I started getting into the season and at first, it was tough because the majority of the guys were seniors. I was the young buck coming in trying to control stuff. Once we started to like each other, we just hit it off from there and I started having fun.”
But it wasn’t until the beginning of this year where his recruitment, and a legitimate possibility to play college football at the highest levels, took off. Pola-Gates attended the U.S. Army All-American Bowl national combine in San Antonio in early January and was one of the top performers. He ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash and posted a 37-inch vertical with a 10-foot standing broad jump. To put that into perspective, his vertical jump would have been tied for the eighth-best mark at this past year’s NFL combine for all cornerbacks. His 4.4 40 time also would’ve ranked eighth-best.
To go with his 6-foot-2, 180-pound frame, it’s no wonder why Alabama and several other powerhouse programs are treating Pola-Gates as a priority. Pola-Gates, after visiting Alabama for the first time in February, told SEC Country at the time that the Crimson Tide led for him. Not much has changed, but there are other schools now in pursuit.
“As of right now, my recruitment is still open,” Pola-Gates said. “Alabama is definitely up there. I would say they are in the lead, pretty much. Oregon, Penn State, Texas, USC and Arizona State are also in the mix for me.”
The state of Arizona’s No. 5 overall recruit plans on returning to Tuscaloosa in a couple of weeks, and is bringing his family. He only brought his mother in February, but the plan is to bring his father and siblings this time around.
It’ll be an important visit for Pola-Gates. The plan is to wait until December to commit, but he admits that it’s possible a decision could come earlier than that. With Alabama holding an edge right now, it’s possible he could decide to choose the Tide if everything goes well.
“I just want my dad to fall in love with the place,” Pola-Gates said. “My mom and I already fell in love with it, so I need my dad and other siblings to fall in love with it, too.”
Since visiting in February, defensive backs coach Karl Scott, special teams coordinator and his primary recruiter Jeff Banks and defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi have stayed in touch with him almost every day. Pola-Gates is being recruited mainly at cornerback, but the coaches have also talked to him about playing nickel back and safety, too.
He only has one official visit set right now and that’s to Penn State on Sept. 29. Alabama will get one this fall, but he hasn’t locked in a date yet.
Pola-Gates is aware of the Alabama buzz surrounding him, despite him showing interest in schools such as Oregon, Penn State, Arizona State and Southern Cal. He says he feels like there’s a reason why many in the recruiting industry feel like Alabama is going to be the school he ends up choosing.
“To be honest, my interviews that I have done sound very convincing that I’m going to Alabama,” Pola-Gates said. “I just love the people that are out there in Tuscaloosa. The opportunities are wide open. I’m just ready to take everything by storm.”
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