As expected, Washington’s No. 2 all-time rusher, who has his degree, will leave a year early to turn pro.
In a press release this morning, coach Steve Sarkisian said, “Chris had a terrific career at Washington and deserves the opportunity to move on to the next level. We wish him nothing but the best in what I’m sure will be a great professional career.”
Polk, a fourth-year junior from Redlands, CA., earned his bachelor’s degree in American ethnic studies. Before the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, he said that he was 50-50 about his decision. He was awaiting his evaluation provided by NFL personnel on his draft prospects, so the news was obviously positive.
Speculation was that Sarkisian hoped to keep Polk for another year by unveiling a potent bowl-game offense behind a healthy quarterback, Keith Price, that would remain largely intact for 2012. The Huskies scored 56 points and piled up 620 yards, including 147 on the ground by Polk.
But it was no match for for the riches awaiting him in the NFL where the early speculation has him no worse than a second- or third-round selection.
A three-time offensive MVP, Polk is one of only two Huskies to rush for 1,000 yards in three seasons. His 2011 total of 1,488 yards ranked second in school history, just ahead of his 2010 total of 1,415 yards, now third-best. As a redshirt freshman in 2009, he ran for 1,113 yards.
Polk leaves Washington with 4,049 yards on 799 carries in 40 games. He is one of only seven 4,000-yard rushers in Pac-12 history. Polk’s total is 57 yards short of Napoleon Kaufman’s school record (4,106). His 799 career carries were a school record, as was his career average of 101.2 yards per game and his 21 career 100-yard games.
Polk earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2011 as he led the Huskies to a second consecutive bowl berth.