Defensive back is one of the biggest priorities for Tennessee’s coaching staff in the 2019 recruiting cycle. Right now, the Vols have two players listed as safeties who are committed in their class, and they’re pursuing a ton of cornerbacks in this cycle as well. And they sent out an offer to an intriguing defensive back out in California who has a huge frame and good film.
Makai Polk is a three-star athlete from El Cerrito, California. And the Vols’ coaching staff just gave him a scholarship offer.
Extremely blessed and excited to announce that I’ve received an offer from Tennessee ‼ #GoVols 🍊 @CoachTTMP @LMBPINKY @LHughes4 @Coach_Jake22 @polofeva @shaunjohn916 @BrandonHuffman @GregBiggins @CoachKeith_NP @LJ_Reyna @bayfbrecruits pic.twitter.com/G52XO6gT58
— Makai Polk (@showtimemakai) June 15, 2018
Right now, Polk isn’t rated by the 247Sports Composite rankings, and he’s only rated as the No. 1,776 overall player and No. 151 athlete in the 2019 cycle per the regular 247Sports rankings. But he already has a few Power Five offers to go along with his offer from Tennessee. Oregon, Oregon State, and California have all offered Polk, and he’s picked up interest from schools like USC, Washington State, Boise State, Colorado, and others. And all of this has happened over the last couple months.
What makes the lowly-rated athlete stand out and warrant these offers and interest from Power Five schools? His film shows a rangy safety who has more skill than the recruiting services might have you believe.
Polk is 6-foot-4, 185 pounds and uses that size effectively as a defender on both run plays and pass plays. He’s very effective defending the run, and he’s not afraid to get physical. He wraps up well and does a good job reading the ball carrier. But he’s not just a run stopper at safety; he can protect against the pass fairly well too. Polk does best in zone coverage and can follow a quarterback’s progressions, but he really excels when running out of the defensive backfield to defend the run.
As a junior, Polk picked off two passes and returned one of them for a touchdown according to MaxPreps. He also played part time at receiver and caught a few passes, and some recruiting analysts think he might end up at receiver in college. But most schools are recruiting him at safety.
The Vols will be hard-pressed to persuade Polk away from California, though. The Golden Bears are the favorite because he has family in the area, and if a school like USC offers him, you have to think that will be appealing to him too. But Tennessee’s coaching staff has some connections out in California, so expect them to keep tabs on Polk.