FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Minnesota 2016 football recruiting class jumped to 17 committed prospects on Wednesday night as South Fort Myers linebacker Andre Polk announced that he would be pledging to the Gophers.
Measuring at 6’3” and 190-pounds, Polk uses his large frame to stuff the run and disrupt opposing quarterbacks’ rhythm in the pocket. Polk has the ability to cover tight ends or running backs out of the backfield thanks to his hip fluidity and imposing frame. These qualities have generated a high level of interest in the senior prospect at outside linebacker, which is the position that most collegez believe he projects to.
“I can run and I’m just pretty physical,” Polk told Today’s U. “I’m pretty hands on.”
Polk, who is rated as a three-star prospect on 247Sports.com and the No. 213 wide receiver in the country overall, also plays offense for the Wolfpack. Lining up in the slot, Polk frequently creates mismatches and is difficult to bring down, often rumbling for additional yardage after the catch.
These qualities have firmly planted Polk on the recruiting radar of many programs and the standout senior discussed his recruitment with Today’s U.
“It was going pretty good actually,” Polk said. “I had 12 offers from Tulane, Marshall, South Alabama, Minnesota, Iowa State, Appalachian State, Louisville, USF, FAMU, Georgia Southern and Western Kentucky.”
As for his recruitment with Minnesota, Polk says that Gophers’ linebacker coach Mike Sherels, his primary recruiter, traveled down to Florida in order to take in one of Polk’s practices. That sparked Minnesota’s interest and the two sides have developed a “great” relationship from that point on.
“They saw my highlight tape and they just started to recruit me like that,” Polk said. “They came to my practice one day and it just started like that.”
Polk says that he was “pretty excited” upon receiving his offer from Minnesota and discussed why he believes the Gophers program is the right fit for him.
“Everything is pretty nice,” Polk said. “It felt like I was automatically a part of the family up there. There’s a great atmosphere and a great place.”
The decision was not reached without much contemplation, however. Polk recently took official visits to both Minnesota and Iowa State to check out each program and learn more about how the respective staffs planned to use his talent at the next level.
Polk broke down his two visits and described the differences, or similarities, rather, between the two schools.
“To me, it was just pretty much the same,” Polk said. “But Minnesota is a bigger campus and a bit more like the city life. I just felt a little more love at Minnesota, but everything was close to each other.”
— Elisha Daniels (@_5Livee) October 8, 2015
One aspect that helped Polk feel the love at Minnesota is the constant contact from current Gopher commits. Shortly after issuing his pledge to Minnesota, Polk received congratulatory tweets from four-star linebacker commit Carter Coughlin and three-star cornerback pledge Elisha Daniels.
“I actually have a pretty good relationship with them too,” Polk said. “When I first started getting recruited by [Minnesota], they would always talk to me and told me about how stuff was there. We just had conversations, so they’re pretty cool people.”
Although Polk is now a committed recruit, the senior athlete is still keeping his options moderately open. Polk says that he “absolutely” gave Louisville a strong look throughout the process and he also plans to take an official visit to USF.
“I’m looking for the same thing I look at on ever other visit: how are the people, the coaches and what’s the area like?” Polk said.
Click here to watch Polk’s junior highlight tape.