Golden Bear Roster Rundown: No. 17 Makai Polk
This is a continuing series running down Cal's football roster for the 2020 season.
Makai Polk enrolled early for spring of 2019 and with the Bears needing wide receivers to step up, Polk did just that. The true freshman was one of four freshmen from the class of 2019 to play in every game (joining Braxten Croteau, Brett Johnson, and McKade Mettauer).
Polk had a strong fall camp, having plenty of success in the WR-DB one on one drills against more seasoned defensive backs, leading to him making his first career catch against UC Davis. Polk didn't take off statistically until the Washington State game, where the Richmond native juked out the entire Washington State defense on his way to a 52-yard catch and run for his first career touchdown.
Polk scored on a similar screen against UCLA, from 44 yards out in that contest, then had his first 100 yard performance against Illinois in the Redbox Bowl, with 5 receptions for 105 yards (all in the first half).
Polk saw his targets go drastically up over the final five games of 2019, with 24 of his 35 targets coming in those games (with 16 receptions, 276 yards, and 2 TDs coming in those games, as opposed to the 3 receptions for 19 yards over the first 8 games).
Polk played 391 reps in 2019, 12th among offensive players and 4th among wide receivers (behind Jordan Duncan, Nikko Remigio, and Trevon Clark)
Expectations for 2020
Polk showed over the final five games of 2019 that he could be a do-it-all wideout, in that he can run after the catch, separate from corners in quick routes, and can be a vertical threat.
Growing his game to do it over a full season, whatever that season ends up looking like, is the goal for Polk in 2020. He has entrenched himself as a piece of Cal's wide receiver rotation, if not already a starter for his work at the end of 2019 and in the four-practice spring football session. Polk should see more targets in 2020 accordingly.
Polk, out of nearby El Cerrito HS (playing at Dorsey HS in LA his sophomore and junior year) ended up committing to Cal in September of 2018, choosing the Bears over offers from Oregon State, Arizona, Oregon, and Tennessee among others.
Polk earned an offer from Cal in June of 2018 during a visit, impressing the Cal staff during their 7 on 7 tournament later in the month. Polk played both defensive back and wide receiver in high school, and impressed during the tournament with his run after catch ability.