- In ninth grade, Jachai Polite made his Twitter handle @RetireMoms to reflect his goal of helping his mother quit her two jobs.
- Now, in his third year playing for the Florida Gators, Polite leads the nation with four forced fumbles and looks primed to achieve his goal.
- Multiple mock drafts have the 6-foot-2, 242-pounder going in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Florida Gators defensive end Jachai Polite has had one goal since the beginning of high school, and like many ninth graders in the digital age, he took to the internet to document it.
Six years later, Polite — known as @RetireMoms on Twitter — is close to making his handle a reality. The Gators junior leads the nation with four forced fumbles and is tied for 10th in sacks with seven in just a five-game span. Multiple 2019 NFL mock drafts have Polite going in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft. Given the fact that all of last year’s first-round draft picks signed multi-million dollar deals heading into the 2018-19 season, Polite is on track to be able to give his mother, Katrina Simmons, the gift of a lifetime.
“It kind of seems unreal,” Polite told Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples. “But hopefully I can really make that happen. That would be very cool.”
Simmons works two jobs to make ends meet. She spends her days working as a hotel housekeeper in Daytona Beach, Florida. At night, she comes home and braids hair for loyal clients, some of whom have come to her since she was 15 years old.
Growing up watching his mother work hard day after day certainly rubbed off on Polite, who went viral last year after an attempted sack turned into a 34-yard chase down of Tennessee Volunteers tailback John Kelly for the tackle.
Since then, Polite has continued to make hustle plays for Florida, like this one in the team’s big win against then-No. 4 LSU:
Polite’s uncle Lawrence Martin IV — who posted the first clip to Twitter — was more than likely right when he wrote, “99 will be playing on Sundays” in the caption. In his latest mock draft, CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson has Polite going to the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 25th overall pick. Luke Easterling of USA Today has the 6-foot-2, 242 pounder heading to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 18th pick, and NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks and Daniel Jeremiah have him tied for 12th in their most recent rankings of the top 25 prospects in the 2018 college football season.
Polite has his eye on the prize, and he’s determined to continue differentiating himself before the end of the season.
“I think I’m different,” Polite told Jacquie Franciulli of GatorsTerritory.com. “I like other people at my position, the way they play it but I don’t think my game’s the same as theirs. I’m Jachai and just, I don’t know, I think I’m different. I know I’m different.”