By Tim Whelan Jr., USA TODAY High School Sports | December 7, 2018 3:06 pm ET
Williams Field High School (Gilbert, Ariz.) four-star safety Noa Pola-Gates received his All-American Bowl jersey Thursday at his school as part of the All-American Bowl Selection Tour presented by American Family Insurance.
“This means close to the world for me, because this has been a childhood dream since I can imagine,” Pola-Gates said. “It’s really big for me, not only to be labeled as one of the best athletes in the nation, but to have this great opportunity to even play and practice against such highly regarded recruits.”
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound safety the No. 3 recruit in Arizona and the 18th-ranked safety in the country, according to the 247 Sports Composite.
This weekend, he makes his official visit to USC. Pola-Gates already visited Alabama, Arizona State and Nebraska. Pola-Gates also recently had in-home visits from head coaches from Alabama (Nick Saban), Arizona State (Herm Edwards), USC (Clay Helton) and Nebraska (Scott Frost), and he told the Arizona Republic that Penn State’s James Franklin will be visiting him on Monday.
While still undecided, Pola-Gates plans to make his college announcement on Jan. 19.
The nephew of legendary former USC and Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, Pola-Gates is carving out his own path while sharing some football characteristics with his uncle.
“I’d say I’m really explosive, fast, a ballhawk, determined,” Pola-Gates said. “And fearless.”
A do-everything player who saw time at receiver, running back and kick and punt returner in addition to his work in the defensive backfield, Pola-Gates can make his imprint anywhere on the field. Look no further than the fact that his three receptions all went for touchdowns. He amassed a clean 200 yards receiving and a trio of TDs on the same number of catches.
Since his sophomore year, though, he has felt that his football destiny would be on defense.
“When they switched me to safety,” he said, “that’s where I knew I could have the biggest impact on the team.”
The All-American Bowl is scheduled for Jan. 5 in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas and will be televised live on NBC at 1 p.m. EST.