Top MAC Football Players of 2013: #37, Darius Polk, Kent State CB

US PRESSWIRE

Polk's biggest error in 2012 was wearing #1, which enhanced the legacy of Dri Archer

On an early MACtion night in Buffalo, Kent found themselves up ten points and in control of a game where Buffalo could not find any offensive rhythm. Polk had shut down Alex Neutz so far, but on the final play of the half he was not matched up against the dangerous UB wideout. Alex Zordich threw the ball to the right, Polk, ran to the ball, just in time to see Neutz make an amazing leaping grab over Sidney Saulter. Neutz landed at the five-yard line right in front of Polk, but he was not able to make the tackle. Neutz scored on a hail mary on the final play of the first half, cutting the Kent lead to 10-7 and breathing life into the UB offense.

For a backup corner into the game due to injuries, the hail mary could have been the defining moment of Polk's season, the moment where he crumbled and cemented his backup status. Instead, Polk responded. With Kent up 13-7, Buffalo drove to the Kent thirty-seven. Zordich looked to take the lead with another homerun pass to Neutz, but this time, Polk was there, intercepting the pass at the two-yard line.

Mac68mini_medium_medium In the fourth quarter, Buffalo down 16-7, again had momentum, sparked by a Najja Johnson interception. Joe Licata entered the game to provide a spark, but Polk again played firefighter, intercepting Licata's first pass, which lead to a touchdown that would seal the game (and set back the Licata era by half a season).

Polk propelled the Flashes to victory when they needed him most in Buffalo, and Polk continued to help the Flashes as they stormed through the MAC, playing in all games, starting against UB, Ball State, Akron and Miami, and earning the start in the GoDaddy Bowl. Polk finished the year with 3 sacks, the 2 interceptions from the Buffalo game, 9 passes broken up and 58 tackles. In a losing effort, Polk was named East MVP of the MAC Championship where he compiled 10 tackles, a sack, a forced fumbled and a fumble recovery.

In 2013, Polk along with Luke Wollet will help maintain a defensive backfield that will have to replace three seniors, including Polk's close friend Norman Wolfe. Polk's biggest error in 2012 was wearing #1, which enhanced the legacy of Dri Archer to the uninformed fan. Polk has already corrected that, switching to #11 previously owned by Wolfe. Polk is the #37 player in the MAC, not for what he's done, but for the glimpses of excellence he displayed during the 2012 season. If Polk can build on and sustain that excellence as a starter in 2013, he could easily be one of the top 10 players in the MAC this season.

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