Jac’que Polite is a senior offensive lineman out of Winston-Salem State, where he transferred to from Missouri Western State in 2014. Having originally started out as a defensive lineman, he made the transition to tackle during his time with the Rams, a position that he’s now played for three years.
During his time at Winston-Salem State, Polite has played multiple positions across the line, excelling at both tackle and guard.
Film shows a burst which helps him get to the second level and deal with linebackers. A level of power and explosiveness which are reinforced by his recent Pro Day results. An 8’9″ broad jump would have had him measuring just outside the top five offensive linemen at the NFL Scouting Combine. He also added 26 bench press reps (though he tells me that he actually reached 31 reps, but was told he didn’t lock out on the last five). Polite possesses dynamic athleticism and natural power, things that will help him transition to the next level.
I sat down with him to get his insight on preparing for the draft, learn more about him and to talk football.
Exclusive-Interview with Winston-Salem State Ram – Jac’que Polite
Can you tell us how it feels to prepare for the NFL Draft?
“Preparing for the NFL draft is the most humbling process ever. It’s tough not knowing where you might end up or if you will even get the opportunity to play in the NFL.
During this process I learned that I have to remain patient and hungry. As a Division Two football athlete I understand that I have to show coaches I deserve to play at the next level and show them that I am a guy who is willing to do everything to be put everything on the line, ready to learn, work and give it my all to be a part of an organization.”
You mention that you’re a Division II athlete, I’m sure you’ve been told this before, but there are over 125 former Division II athletes in the league. There’s even a former Winston-Salem State Ram currently playing for the Miami Dolphins. What would it mean to you if you were able to join them?
“Yes, I’ve been told that there is a fair amount of Division II athletes in the NFL, but to me I think it’s all about how badly you want it. In this case I want it badly. I’ve worked hard my entire life to even cherish this moment doing interviews and preparing for that next level.
To join the rest of the Division Two guys in the NFL would be a dream come true. I know the obstacles and challenges those guys faced coming out of a Division II school. I’ve always been told that football is football and it’s played in exactly the same way everywhere. I do understand at the next level the organizations are different and that’s why I am open to learn everything I can and willing to give my all and help a team win a championship.”
In college you lined up at both guard and tackle, do you have a position you prefer playing?
“I played both left and right side throughout the game. It never felt unnatural wherever I played. At the next level, I am willing to play wherever the team needs me. I want to learn as much as possible to ensure the team’s success.”
Is there anybody who’s game you see some of yourself in?
My favorite offensive linemen is Tyron Smith. He is one of the best in the game. I try to mock his game as much as I can and try to look as athletic as he does. Right now I know I’m not on his level but I’m working everyday to reach that level and play the game as well as he can.”
Do you have an area of your game that you’re particularly proud of?
“The area of my play that I am most proud of is my footwork, athleticism and most of all my strength.”
At your pro-day, you had a particularly impressive broad jump. 8’9″ would have put you just outside the top five who tested at the combine. Would you say that showcased your athleticism?
“I’d say it shows that I am pretty explosive. I’ve made a lot of workout videos that highlight my athleticism, showing my speed, footwork, body control and power. I make those videos just to help get myself exposure coming from a Division II college, hoping that someone would come across my videos and notice my work ethic and hunger.”
Growing up in South Carolina, you chose to attend a school not far from home in Winston-Salem State. Have your family been with you throughout your football journey?
“Yes, my family had been with me throughout this entire journey. They’ve helped me throughout my football journey because growing up they taught me that school is very important. They made sure I was studious and very attentive. If I had bad grades or I ever misbehaved in elementary and middle school they wouldn’t let me participate in sports. If ever I needed something they have always been there for me. My family have motivated, encouraged and most of all believed in me.”
Winston-Salem State Rams rushed for over 225 yards per game, would you say that the offensive line pride themselves on run blocking?
“I would have to say as an offensive line unit we worked together all summer preparing for the season and we all believed in one other. Therefore, going into every game we were always confident.”
What is the coolest thing that football has allowed you to do?
“Thanks to football I have been able to travel to places which a small town boy like me could only dream of. I have also met lifetime friends.”
Have you been a fan of an NFL team since you were young?
“I’ve grown up as an Atlanta Falcons fan.”
Everybody dreams of that NFL paycheck, what’s the first thing you’d do when it came through?
“The first thing I’d do with a paycheck like that is buy my parents and my family something special.”
If you could block for any NFL running back, who would it be and why?
“If I could choose any NFL running back to block for it would be Marshawn Lynch. Once Lynch goes in beast mode he turns into an animal. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?”
Lastly, if you could be a part of any offensive line from history, which would you pick?
Image credit: Winston-Salem State University