- Teams such as Denver, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay and the New York Giants could view Polk as a nice change-of-pace back who can also play on third down because of his natural catching ability. "Me, personally, I just sees passes as an extended carry," Polk said. "I'm not going to fumble the ball, and I'm not going to drop any passes. Just come my way and trust in me, and I'll get the job done." Polk finished with 79 catches for 683 yards and four touchdowns during his UW career. In his final Huskies season, Polk rushed for 1,488 yards and 12 touchdowns on 293 carries, averaging 5.1 yards a carry with one fumble. "I'm versatile," Polk said. "I can do it all. I can run, block and catch - all of that. It's just a matter of me executing my technique rather than relying on just the physical abilities, and just staying mentally attuned to my technique and staying fundamentally sound." And that relentless running style? "It just comes from your desire because every time I touch the ball, I'm thinking touchdown," he said. "It may not make sense, but I love hitting - but I hate being tackled. "Every time I'm tackled - whether it's by being put on my back or an ankle tackle - I just get mad. I get down. I just get angry. I just want to keep running and running until I reach that end zone." - Eric D. Williams, The Olympian Online
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A highly touted recruit, Polk originally signed with Washington as a member of Tyrone Willingham's final class. He appeared ready to make an immediate splash for the Huskies, starting the first two games of his career, but injured his shoulder and missed the remainder of the season.
Bigger and stronger in 2009, Polk rushed for 1,113 yards and enjoyed some of his most impressive performances against the Huskies' top competition (90 yards vs. LSU, 96 all-purpose yards in upset over then No. 3 ranked USC, 104 yards and a TD against Oregon). Polk was even better in 2010, rushing for 1,465 yards and nine touchdowns - second behind only Corey Dillon's (1,695 in 1996) in Washington's storied history. It was Polk, not Jake Locker, whose performance in the final three games of the regular season assured Washington of its first bowl berth since 2002.
Some expected Polk's numbers to fall back in 2011 with Locker having moved on to the NFL. While his regular-season rushing totals did slip slightly (1,341), Polk emerged as a dangerous threat as a receiver (career-high 29 catches for 324 yards and four touchdowns) and proved even more lethal near the goal line, scoring a career-high 15 touchdowns. The 2011 first-team All-Pac-12 selection finished the regular season behind only former Oakland Raider first-round pick Napoleon Kaufman atop UW's career rushing leaders.
Polk was prepared to leave school a year early anyway when it was learned he never filed the paperwork seeking a redshirt in 2008, meaning he had exhausted his eligibility.
Polk likely boosted his stock with scouts with an impressive all-around performance at his pro day March 8. Ironically enough, he did so with Locker watching, as the Titans' 2011 first round pick returned to Washington to throw passes to Polk, wide receivers Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar and fullback Dorson Boyce.
Polk measured in at 5-10 (1/2) and 212 pounds, three pounds lighter than he weighed at the Combine and 12 pounds lighter than he was at the Senior Bowl. The loss of weight was noticeable in the running back's time in the 40-yard dash and his explosiveness in positional drills.
Polk was credited with an "official" 4.57 second time at the Combine but came in at between 4.45-4.49 in his first attempt and 4.48-4.51 in his second. Polk also posted 16 reps on the bench press. He caught passes out of the backfield, demonstrating the soft, reliable hands and route-running ability that I believe is his most underrated quality and why the Washington running back remains in the hunt (along with Boise State's Doug Martin, Virginia Tech's David Wilson and Miami's Lamar Miller) to be the second back selected in the 2012 draft.
Only Alabama's Trent Richardson, the consensus top-rated back, is viewed as a surefire first round pick.
Inside: Strong interior runner. Quickly presses the line of scrimmage and has the burst to get through the line of scrimmage and into the second level quickly. A classic North/South runner who doesn't waste time moving laterally. Good vision to set up cutback lanes as he gets to the open field. Doesn't possess elite breakaway speed, but is fast enough to gain yardage in chunks when he finds a seam. Fights for extra yardage and is a reliable short-yardage runner. Good forward lean. Keeps his legs churning on contact. Protects the ball with both hands.
Outside: Not truly explosive, but possesses enough speed to beat the linebacker to the edge. Looks to get upfield. Won't rely on his speed to run around defenders. Looks for the hole and can stick his foot in the ground and cut upfield quickly. Does not possess top breakaway speed, though he's rarely caught from behind.
Breaking tackles: Unquestionably his best attribute. Very physical runner who keeps his legs churning on contact. Rarely goes down with the first hit. Lowers his shoulder into defenders and shows a variety of natural running skills to break free, including a stiff-arm, spin move and pure determination. Runs low to the ground and with good forward lean to generate the tough yards. Keeps his arms wrapped securely around the ball.
Blocking: An underrated component of his game. Cognizant pass defender who is willing to take on the hard-charging linebacker head on. Keeps his shoulders square and brings his hips to jolt the defender. Will resort to cut-blocks, on occasion, and could use some technical work, as he'll lunge low. NFL pass rushers may be able to leap over him... Willing to help teammates downfield.
Receiving: Became more of a weapon out of the backfield in 2011 for the Huskies, catching passes out of the backfield on simple swing passes, as well as more complicated wheel routes and even occasionally lining up outside. Possesses the athleticism and soft hands to contribute to an NFL passing attack. Reliable hands out of the backfield, demonstrating the ability to quickly secure the pass and turn upfield. Demonstrated the ability to track the ball over his shoulder. Good flexibility, balance to adjust to the poorly thrown pass. Good vision and patience for screens.
Intangibles: Doubled as a kick returner as a redshirt freshman, averaging 19.8 yards a return on 12 attempts... Final pro grade may not be determined until the Combine as team doctors will want to check out his medical... Has already undergone two shoulder surgeries and a knee scope, a concern considering Polk's highly physical running style... Signed with Washington largely due to the fact that it was where his mother wanted him to go... Graduated in June, 2011.