Cowboys take Pollard in the 4th round of the NFL Draft
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Former University of Memphis running back Tony Pollard was drafted in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys with the 128th overall pick on Saturday.
At Memphis, Pollard’s 4,680 career all-purpose yards ranks second all-time only to NFL first round pick DeAngelo Williams (2002-05). In 40 career games, with 28 starts, Pollard played running back and wide receiver and played on all aspects of Memphis’ special teams. As a kickoff return player, Pollard was one of the best in the nation, tying the NCAA career record for kickoff return touchdowns when he housed his seventh career return in his final game in the Blue and Gray in the 2018 Birmingham Bowl.
That touchdown capped Pollard’s mark nationally as a kick returner. Memphis had not had a kickoff return touchdown since 1996 when Pollard took a 95-yard return to the endzone in a conference game against Temple as a freshman in 2016. That was the first of four KOR touchdowns for Pollard that season and would help him earn American Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Year honors and freshman All-American nods from USA Today and the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).
As a sophomore, Pollard added two kickoff returns and repeated AAC Special Teams Player of the Year honors after leading the nation with 40.0 yards per return. His national profile helped him earn Walter Camp All-America honors as well as FWAA, Sports Illustrated and Phil Steele All-America honors.
As a multi-faceted tool in the Tiger offense, Pollard finished his career with 941 rushing yards on 139 carries (6.8 ypc) and 1,292 receiving yards in 104 receptions (12.4 ypc). He played in an offense that sported two teammates that rushed for 1,000 yards three times (Darrell Henderson, 2017, 2018 and Patrick Taylor, Jr., 2018) and two teammates that posted 1,000-yard receiving seasons (Anthony Miller, 2017 and Damonte Coxie, 2018). Despite all that offensive firepower on the roster with him, Pollard still finished his three-year career ranked in the top 20 in Memphis history for receptions (15th) and receiving yards (18th) and second in career all-purpose yardage (4,680).
As one of the team’s primary backs in the 2018 Birmingham Bowl, he rushed for 109 yards on 17 carries (6.4 ypg). He also finished with 318 all-purpose yards against Wake Forest in the Birmingham Bowl, the second-most in a single game in Memphis history, with over 200 yards in kickoff returns, including the NCAA career-record tying touchdown.
Pollard graduated from the University of Memphis in December of 2018 with a degree in sport and leisure management.
Pollard is the second Tiger to be drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft. Backfield mate Darrell Henderson was selected in the third round by the Los Angeles Rams on Friday. This is the second straight season Memphis has had multiple draft picks in the same draft. Genard Avery (Cleveland) and Anthony Miller (Chicago) were selected in last year’s draft.
Pollard is the fifth player coached by Mike Norvell at Memphis to be selected in an NFL draft. He is just the second Memphis player to be drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. M Club Hall of Famer John Bomer was drafted by the Cowboys in the 17th round of the 1971 draft.