Ray Polk came to Colorado last summer as a four-star running back from the Phoenix area hoping to make his mark immediately on a team in need of his talent, but even from the early days in the program he felt his heart tugging him to the other side of the ball.
Polk said he spent a lot of time over the past six months contemplating where he fit in best on the CU roster and how he could best help the team win games. He knew the program was losing two senior safeties this winter and the opportunity for playing time would be in the secondary in 2009 more so than at running back where Demetrius Sumler, Rodney Stewart, Darrell Scott and Brian Lockridge all are returning with experience under their belts.
"I think I have more potential to help the team at safety and more potential to expand at safety," Polk said. "I think it was a good switch and I'm pretty excited about it. I knew I could play defense, and it's a good option especially if I'm thinking about going to the league."
Polk said when he asked coaches about the possibility of moving to defense they told him they had been toying with the idea of asking him if he would like to try defense. Most CU fans probably don't know that Polk spent more time playing defense at cornerback in four years of high school than he did on offense. He originally moved to running back only because his high school team needed him to after another player got hurt prior to Polk's junior season.
Polk is making the switch at a time when he won't be able to get the full benefit of spring practices to help in the transition. He has undergone two shoulder surgeries since November (one on each side) with the latest coming late last month. He had torn labrums on both sides, the left side was originally injured in high school.
His left arm is in a sling for several more weeks and he will not participate in any of spring practices, which begin March 31 and end with the annual spring game April 25.
Polk said he is already beginning to work on learning the defense and he believes his previous experience on defense will help him adapt quickly.
"I knew if would be kind of a big shock, but I think I can really help out this program," Polk said.