March 10, 2008

Getting to know Ray Polk

On signing day, the Colorado coaches were quick to remind reporters that Darrell Scott was not the only running back prospect to ink with the Buffaloes from the Class of 2008.

Ray Polk might not have been the nation's top ranked running back prospect last cycle, but the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder from Phoenix (Ariz.) Brophy Prep will come to Boulder with a pretty impressive resume.

Michigan, Nebraska, Arizona State, Oklahoma State, Washington, Arizona and Oregon State were among the other colleges that pursued Polk's signature. He rushed for 2,521 yards and 34 touchdowns as a junior and senior in high school.

"I think that right now our fans are a little unappreciative of what he brings to the table because of Darrell Scott," CU running backs coach Darian Hagan expressed. "Ray doesn't take a back seat to anyone; he's big, he's fast and he is going to play a long time in the NFL. When it is all said and done he and Darrell Scott are going to break a lot of records here and are going to go down as two of the best to ever play for the University of Colorado."

Polk had competed in track and field in the past. But this spring he has decided to just focus on football workouts. He plans to depart for Boulder in early June to workout with his new teammates.

We caught up with Polk and asked him a variety of questions as part of our series of Q&A's with the Buffaloes' 2008 signees.

I know I have asked you this before, but what was it that really made Colorado stand out in your recruiting process?

Ray Polk: "It was a great fit. The funny thing is, going into the recruiting process I pictured what the perfect fit for me would be and CU exceeded it. I loved the coaching staff, I like the players out there, I think that the team has great chemistry and I think that Coach Hawkins is a great coach. I love my future position coach, Coach Hagan. He is one of the funniest people I have ever met. It is a great community. They really do focus on academics as well, that is something that I look forward to taking seriously when I get to college. I want to get a good degree and set myself up for life after football. I really got the sense that they cared about me, not only as a player. That was something special that made them stand out."

With Hugh Charles graduating, the starting running back job is up for grabs this off-season. Has that given you extra motivation for your workouts? Are you coming in with the mentality that you want to play right away?

"Even if their previous starting running back was there now, being an incoming freshman, I think you have to have the mentality that you will go in there and get playing time and possibly start. I think that you would be setting yourself up for failure if you are not confident going into the situation. You need to keep your focus on your ultimate goal. Not only starting and getting playing time and starting, but also working towards a national championship for Colorado."

During your senior season, opposing defenses were geared to stop you. Having the focus on you every game, did that help prepare you for the challenge of stepping up to the next level?

"It was great. I didn't even expect it. The great part about that is it opened me up to know more about myself and what I need to fix, you know, me getting better as a player on the field in all aspects. It was a great learning year. It certainly wasn't the highlight year that I had junior year, but it was great because I figured out what I need to focus on and it's just about getting to that next level of competition. That is also why I am very excited that Darrell Scott is going to be up there. I think that we can both push and build off each other."

What impresses you most about head coach Dan Hawkins?

"There are so many coaches out there that are good coaches, but they are good in one aspect in the way that they do things in life. I got to meet and talk with Coach Hawkins and I got the feeling he is a great man. There is a quote that our coach used to drill in our head. It was, 'don't do things right once in a while, do them right all the time'. And that is what I saw from Coach Hawkins. I'm very excited because I think he is a great coach and I like the attitude that he brings to the game."

How would you describe your personality off the football field?

"I can joke around and I am pretty easy going. I'm a regular kid. I hang out with friends, go out to see movies, do all that stuff. I don't like to think of myself as a football player. I don't want that to define who I am. I got teased a lot when I started doing really well my junior year. I like to think of myself as not a one dimensional type of person."

What are some of your other hobbies outside of football?

"Besides just hanging out with friends and having a good time and doing all the stuff that regular kids do, not really. Every now and then at lunch there will be people playing soccer, hand ball or playing some other kind of game. I like to jump in and have fun with some of the other kids, and some of the kids that I don't usually hang out with. It's great, I like to bounce around a lot and have fun with mostly everybody in my high school community."

What do you plan to major in when you get to college?

"I am really not sure, I have been bouncing around like crazy. I have thought about Communications, English, Psychology, maybe pre-Law. I'm just trying to figure out what I want to do. I am thinking a lot about getting into law and hopefully going to Law school and be a lawyer some day down the road."

Have you gone through the NCAA clearinghouse yet? Are you qualified academically for CU, or is that something that you are still working towards?

"I think I am all good. I think I definitely have the qualifications. I took the SAT once and got a 1650 and my GPA is all right, it's not great. But it is okay. So I think I am good with that. I sent all my scores in to the NCAA and everything."

What is your favorite kind of food?

"I don't know. I love food. I love eating. I would eat a lot more if I had more time on my hands, but it is probably a good thing that I don't. I don't want to get fat and slow. But I like the basic foods: hamburgers, pizza. I'm not a healthy person by any means, which is something I need to work on. But I figure it is there, so I might as well take it."

What is your favorite TV show?

"I really don't watch that much TV. I am a fan of South Park, which I know is big in Colorado. I think it is funny. But I'm not too much of a TV person."

Do you have a favorite movie?

"I don't. But recently I saw The Bourne Ultimatum and American Gangster. I really liked both of those movies."

What was the best part of the recruiting process?

"It was cool because I heard about it from my dad, who went through it. He said that he had so many letters that he could have covered all four walls in his room. I always thought that was crazy. And it came true. It was nice to feel like you were wanted. The whole thing was a neat experience. The best thing about it was my trip to Colorado. Basically I just got pampered for a few days up there, it was nice."

What was the worst part of the recruiting process?

"It was pretty good, it was a little bit annoying when coaches would call and text me all the time, especially when I was in class. But I got used to it and it got easier. It was just weird because at first I had all these different area codes coming in and it was weird because I had to call them all back or text them all back. But for the most part it was fun."

Do you have any messages for Colorado fans?

"I am excited and I can't wait to get up there and do what I can to help Colorado make a run at a national championship."

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