"When he came [to the new staff], I thought it was too good to be true," Polk said of Freeman. "I didn't think he was a coach already."
In fact, the 27-year-old former NFL linebacker hung up the cleats at a young age, due to a heart ailment, and is now in the coaching ranks. He joined the new Purdue coaching staff in January and was a major part of leading Polk to join the Boilermakers' 2013 recruiting class.
Since Polk signed his letter of intent in February, he has continued to build a strong relationship with Freeman.
"He's young, he played football within the last six years," Polk said of Purdue's linebackers coach. "It's like he actually understands how it feels to be a football player. He knows mistakes are going to be made."
Polk, who stands at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, was recruited by former Purdue head coach Danny Hope as a defensive end. When Darrell Hazell and his new staff began their evaluations of Polk, they saw him as a true linebacker—where he played as a high-school senior.
Freeman is high on what Polk brings to the position, and offered him some simple advice.
"[Freeman] told me that when I play, he doesn't want to see me think too much about fundamentals," said Polk. "He just wanted to see me have fun."
Polk arrives on campus this summer and will officially become a member of the football program. He maintains frequent contact with current Boilermakers, constantly checking how the team's offseason workouts are going.
"I feel really excited and confident in what's ahead," he said. "I feel like things are going to change there."
Polk anticipates he'll be handed a redshirt for his freshman season.
"After that," he said, "it's game on."