Polk started out as a Texas Tech Red Raider, and has spent the last three years of his college career with the Huskies. In an article from Pro Football Talk, Polk explains how hard it was to make the decision.
“For me, it really was a tough decision leaving my brothers,” Polk said. “Just knowing the opportunities of being able to make another run next year again. But I think this is the right time.”
Polk was deeply affected by the Huskies’ loss to the Michigan Wolverines in the national championship. A picture of him watching the trophy celebration went viral following the 34-13 loss.
UW’s Ja’Lynn Polk watching the trophy ceremony. pic.twitter.com/i6bs5mv9LJ
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) January 9, 2024
Washington Huskies wide receiver Ja’Lynn Polk had a breakout year in 2023
Throughout the entirety of his career Polk amassed 2,231 yards receiving on 143 receptions. 1,159 of those receiving yards came in the 2023 season, and 69 of those receptions did as well.
Polk’s nine touchdowns this year made up for half of the touchdowns he has had in his entire collegiate career. Polk had seven games this year in which he eclipsed the 100-yard mark through the air.
One of Polk’s best performances came when it mattered most. In the College Football Playoff semifinal game, Polk had 122 yards receiving and a touchdown on five receptions. This performance was only bested by his 148 yard, two touchdown performance against the Stanford Cardinal as well as his eight reception, two touchdown performance against the Cal Golden Bears.
Polk’s stats are even more impressive when considering the fact that he was sharing the field with two other NFL WR prospects. Wide receiver Rome Odunze led the team in receiving yards with over 1,600 yards receiving on 92 receptions. Odunze is projected by many draft analysts to be a early first-round pick.
Wide receiver Jalen McMillan, who is also a projected NFL prospect, accrued nearly 600 yards receiving on 45 receptions. Polk’s 1,000 yard season becomes significantly more impressive when considering who he was competing with for touches.
Washington Huskies wide receiver Ja’lynn Polk could be a steal in the 2024 NFL Draft
Polk is expected to be a late second round draft pick, according to NFL Draft Buzz. Polk is known for his speed, and his ability to make catches in traffic.
Would definitely draft #Washington WR Ja’Lynn Polk on Day 2. Speed to threaten vertically and can make catches in traffic. Think he’s an excellent WR2 or WR3 option in a pass heavy offensive system.
— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) January 9, 2024
How did Ja’Lynn Polk make that catch⁉️ pic.twitter.com/OU6l5BPRsi
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) September 24, 2023
Washington’s Ja’Lynn Polk does a phenomenal job high pointing this ball. Awesome ball skills and body control on display.
Polk is a potential top-100 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft class. pic.twitter.com/gFbCVYzceA
— Seven Rounds in Heaven (@7RoundsInHeaven) November 5, 2023
Polk’s route running abilities draw attention as well. Polk’s speed at 6-foot-2 makes him an intriguing NFL prospect.
Washington’s Ja’Lynn Polk with a nice route and an even better grab through contact.
Polk is an impressive height-weight-speed mix at WR and a potential top-100 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. pic.twitter.com/h0pSit1YAT
— Seven Rounds in Heaven (@7RoundsInHeaven) December 2, 2023
MICHAEL PENIX TO JA’LYNN POLK TO GIVE WASHINGTON THE 14-7 LEAD pic.twitter.com/Ebs017U8TY
— Arye Pulli (@AryePulli) October 14, 2023
Polk will not be one of the first WRs taken off the board in a stacked draft class for the position. He was overshadowed in a deep WR room, and he will be overshadowed in the draft by generational WRs like Marvin Harrison jr. and Malik Nabers.