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Andre Polk ATH South Ft Myers HS

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  • 1 month later...

Prep football: South Fort Myers’ Andre Polk signs with USF

Credit: Adam Fisher
Andre Polk Sr., Andre Polk, his mother Shanika Edwards, stepfather Don Edwards as the South Fort Myers High School football player signs with the University of South Florida on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, at South Fort Myers High School. Polk, a linebacker, will enroll next week. Adam Fisher/Staff
By Adam Fisher of the Naples Daily News
Posted: 2:34 p.m.



After signing his letter of intent to play football at the University of South Florida, Andre Polk thanked more than 100 friends who came to the South Fort Myers High School auditorium for Thursday's ceremony.

Polk saved the biggest thanks for his family, who gathered around him on stage. His mother, Shanika Edwards, beamed with pride.

Edwards was thrilled to see her son carry on a family tradition. Polk has three brothers who also went on to play college football.

"This isn't my first time around," said Edwards, clearly comfortable taking questions from the media.

The NCAA doesn't allow high school seniors to sign national letters of intent until Feb. 3. However, Polk was able to officially commit to USF because he's no longer a high school student.

Polk committed to USF in December after decommitting from Minnesota. Once he finished the first semester of his senior year at South, Polk saw he was far enough ahead on his credits to graduate early.

A 6-foot-3, 195-pound hybrid linebacker/safety, Polk already passed the ACT and finished his exams this weeks. He graduated with a 3.1 grade-point average. Polk plans to start classes at USF in Tampa on Monday.

"It feels good," Polk said about officially becoming a Bull. "I'm glad everything is finished and over with and it all went smoothly."

Since Polk won't be at the football team's year-end banquet later this month, South coach Anthony Dixon had the audience at Thursday's ceremony give him a standing ovation.

"That's for everything he's done at South Fort Myers," Dixon said. "We appreciate him, and he'll be missed. Now it's time to take the next step."


Polk's brother, Ta'jarvis Fuller, graduated from Dunbar in 2012 and played at Illinois. His brother Teh'Ron Fuller graduated from South in 2014 and is at Appalachian State. Pierre Raymond, an adopted brother, graduated from East Lee in 2011 before playing at Walsh University.

The three brothers joined Polk on stage Thursday, along with Edwards, Polk's father Andre Polk Sr. and stepfather Don Edwards.

Polk got the idea to head to college early from Ta'jarvis Fuller. He graduated early from Dunbar before playing linebacker at Illinois.

"My oldest brother went early, so I figured I'd do the same," Polk said. "It's good to get up there and get a head start."

Though he played both linebacker positions and defensive back at South, Polk expects to be an outside linebacker in college. He hopes to bulk up to more than his 195 pounds before next season.

USF, which went 8-5 this past season, has recruited Southwest Florida hard in recent years. Four players from Immokalee and two from Fort Myers played for the Bulls last season, along with two more from Charlotte County.

Polk committed to Minnesota in October, but changed his mind when head coach Jerry Kill left for health reasons. He's happy to be playing much closer to home next season.

"I'm always used to having my family at my games," Polk said. "Every game I've ever played they've come to."

A three-year varsity player, Polk was honorable mention all-state as a junior in 2014. This past season he had 54 tackles and two interceptions in six games. The FHSAA suspended Polk the first five games after he was involved in a fight during a preseason game at North Fort Myers.


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