RB Feels Intensified Recruiting Vibe from ASU

The 6-1 190 Ray Polk isn't only a gifted running back, but also an accomplished track and field athlete. He missed ASU's spring game because of a meet he attended on the Tempe campus. It was overall time well spent as he won his two events and still got to tour the football facilities and learn more about the Sun Devil program. He talked to Devils Digest about his impressions from the visit.

"It was a great visit and I'm very interested in the program. That visit made a big difference in my feelings towards Arizona State," said Ray Polk. "One thing that stood out to me is that this is a program that a running back would be looking for. They're looking to give the ball to the running back a good amount of the time. You can't have a passing game without a good running game, and Arizona State shows that."

During the Sun Angel classic track meet at ASU, Polk captured first place in both the 100m hurdles and 300m hurdles. He's the front runner to capture the state title in these events this year. "The skills I have running track help me and hurt me with football," he explained. "After track season I have to get used to running football speed. In track you're open and just run full speed ahead contrary to football where the running style is different because you breaking and cutting a lot more. Running hurdles does make you stronger and that helps me in football."

Polk was a first team All-5A selection by the Arizona Republic, as he registered 1,423 yards rushing, roughly 8.6 yards a carry and 21 TDs as a junior. Ironically he was listed as the number two running back for the Broncos. He was inserted into the starting lineup the second game of the year, and was a vital contributor in Brophy's 9-3 campaign in 2006.

Coach Broncos coach Scooter Molander naturally raves about Polk's ball carrying skills and 4.4 speed. Yet he takes time to highlight Polk's versatility just as much. "He pass protects well, and you don't find that very often," said Molander. A lot of guys say ‘I want the ball and if you don't give me the ball I'm not gonna do anything.' He also catches the ball very well from the backfield."

Under the former ASU coach Dirk Koetter Polk did receive some recruiting attention from the Sun Devils. When Dennis Erickson took the reigns in Tempe, the maroon and gold, through tight ends coach Dan Cozzetto, have stepped up the recruiting efforts considerably. "ASU offered me earlier in the year," said Polk. "They've been keeping in touch all the time, but the last two weeks they've been text messaging me a lot, wanting me to come down for a visit. Before I just didn't know too much about the program. Now I have a clear view about the school and program."

Prior to ASU, Arizona (where his mom attended school), Oklahoma State (where his dad attended school) Colorado, San Diego State, Nevada, and Oregon State extended offers. At the time of our interview Nebraska hadn't offered him yet, but as reported on 24-7.com the Huskers have now joined the recruiting fray. "I really don't have a list of top schools," claimed Polk. "I'm very open and it's really early in the recruiting process. I just want to explore all my options and go to the school that fits me the best." Polk added that he unofficially visited Arizona back in January (and not last week as reported elsewhere), as well as UCLA.

Polk noted that he isn't feeling a lot of pressure from family and friends to stay close to home and attend ASU. In fact, the only family member or friend that talks to him about the Sun Devils is ASU's walk-on safety Mike Callaghan who also attended Brophy.

Polk acknowledged the positives of staying close to home, and the two in-state schools are getting serious consideration from him because of that fact. "I'm definitely interested in both schools and both of them have things that impress me," he commented. "I'm looking for a school which has a good program, good academics…mainly just looking for the best fit for me and the place that makes me feel the most comfortable and suits my needs for my football career."

Just like he's open with the list of schools is considering, Polk isn't setting any deadlines when it comes to a timetable for his decision. "You only get to go through this process once and I want to make the best decision for me," he said. "I played running back for less than a season. So I want to do my best my senior year and get as many schools looking at me as I can, so I can make a decision when I know all the programs that are out there for me."

In terms of academics the running back stated that he's doing well in his classes and will take an entrance exam for the first time next month. Polk plans to attend the Nike camp at Stanford, and team camps at UCLA, Notre Dame, ASU and Arizona. "It's gonna be a busy summer so I'll try to make all of them."

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