The University of Virginia football program bolstered one of its thinnest positions in a big way Thursday evening, when Central Michigan graduate transfer tight end Tony Poljan announced his commitment to the Cavaliers. The 6’7”, 258-pound Poljan was an All-MAC Second Team this past season, his first full season playing the tight end position.
Chapter 2!! 🔶⚔️🔷 pic.twitter.com/WuvijJt9sq
— Tony Poljan (@TonyPoljan) July 17, 2020
Poljan has one year of eligibility remaining. As a graduate transfer, he is eligible to play immediately.
Virginia’s starting tight end in 2019, Tanner Cowley, is out of eligibility, and head coach Bronco Mendenhall faced the prospect of playing the 2020 season with two scholarship players at the position. Sophomore Grant Misch played well in a reserve role last season and was projected as the starter. Joshua Rawlings, who enrolled on Grounds last January as a true freshman, and recruited walk-on redshirt freshman Mike Kosar were expected to compete for playing time behind Misch.
Poljan’s addition has caught the attention of some college football analysts, including Bruce Feldman of The Athletic.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) July 17, 2020
Massive pickup for Bronco Mendenhall and Virginia. Tony Poljan is one of the best SR TEs in the country. Former QB with a huge frame and freaky athleticism. https://t.co/kYb2fHanVj
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) July 17, 2020
In May, Reese’s Senior Bowl Executive Director and ESPN NFL Draft Analyst Jim Nagy described Poljan as an NFL prospect to watch next season.
Central Michigan alums Joe Staley & Eric Fisher boosted their stock at the @seniorbowl and TE Tony Poljan could do the same. Converted QB is a huge target at 6-7, 260 lbs and he’s one of best in-line blockers in ‘21 class. Also expected to be top tester. #TheDraftStartsInMOBILE pic.twitter.com/lv3sv06hKZ
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) May 30, 2020
Poljan was recruited by Central Michigan as a quarterback in the class of 2016. The Lansing (MI) native redshirted in 2016 before appearing in 13 games in 2017, finishing with 125 yards rushing, 97 yards receiving, and 78 yards passing. As a redshirt sophomore he split time at quarterback and tight end, totaling 625 yards passing, 125 yards receiving and 123 yards rushing with six total touchdowns.
As a full-time tight end last season, Poljan responded with 33 catches for 496 yards and four touchdowns in 12 games. He achieved 38 receiving yards or more per game in each of the Chippewas final four regular season games plus the conference championship, including a 4-catch, 89 performance in a 38-20 win over Bowling Green. He missed the New Mexico Bowl because of a foot injury.
Poljan, who received 700 offensive snaps last season according to Pro Football Focus, has a great chance to become UVA’s starting tight end this coming season. With excellent size and proven receiving ability, he should be a significant factor in the run and passing games. Misch, who switched from defense to tight end in the spring of 2019 before seeing 171 offensive snaps last season (per PFF), still figures to play a significant role next season. Meanwhile, barring injury, Rawlings and Kosar will have more time to develop if necessary.
Virginia now features three new graduate transfers on its 2020 roster as Poljan joins Mississippi State quarterback Keytaon Thompson and St. Francis (PA) wide receiver Ra’Shaun Henry. In addition, UVA added running back Ronnie Walker Jr., an Indiana transfer, to the roster this offseason.