Briar Woods wide receiver Brandon Polk immediately developed an affinity for Penn State last weekend on his first visit to the school as he took in spring practice and toured the campus in State College, Pa., with his father.
Polk returned to Ashburn Monday, but he enjoyed the school’s gaping campus so much he and his father drove four hours north for a second visit Tuesday, this time with his mother in tow. The speedy junior gave his oral commitment to the Nittany Lions coaching staff during his second visit to the school in just three days.
Polk cited the coaching staff and the proximity to home as his reasons for committing earlier than expected. He planned to visit Pittsburgh over the summer. Polk held 11 offers at the time of his decision and listed Maryland, Wake Forest and Stanford at the top of his list.
“I loved the campus, and it was a great feel,” Polk said. “The coaches are very passionate about what they do, and they want to make everybody better, not just one person.”
Before the visit Polk said he wasn’t sure about what he would choose as a major, but after seeing Penn State’s communications and materials science schools and speaking with their professors, he said he plans to major in programs in either of those schools.
Joining Penn State means he and senior quarterback Trace McSorley could be teaming up again in 2015. With the two on the field together Briar Woods went 25-1 over the past two seasons, including the 2012 Virginia AA Division 4 title. Their lone defeat came in the Virginia 5A final in December.
“It’s good to go there and already know somebody on the roster,” Polk said. “And it’s kind of unheard of to have a high school quarterback and wide receiver going to school together.”
Last spring’s 100-meter and 200-meter Virginia Group AA champion is not stepping on the track this season, although he did ran a 4.36 hand-timed 40-yard dash this winter. He’s working with a trainer to reach 170 pounds to be more prepared for another grueling Falcons season and the next level.
Polk is currently 15 pounds shy of that mark, but he is nearly impossible to jam at the line of scrimmage because of his quickness, which helped him gain over 800 yards and score eight touchdowns last season.
“I’m eating a lot more now and getting more calories to gain more weight,” Polk said. “My trainer is assisting me in gaining more muscle tone and making me faster with leg exercises.”
Polk joins McSorley and Falcons senior wideout Melvin Holland Jr. (Minnesota) as the third player from the Ashburn school to commit to a Big Ten university in the past two seasons.
NUMBER CRUNCH: 15
Number of seniors South River boys’ lacrosse lost to graduation after a 17-3 campaign last season. The Seahawks defeated Broadneck 9-2 as junior Dylan Mansur scored four goals against their Anne Arundel County rival. No. 9 South River has outscored its opponents 12-2 to start the season 2-0.
– DeMatha begins the season where it ended 2013, as The Post’s top-ranked baseball team after winning 11 of 12 games to close the season as WCAC champions. Meantime, Lake Braddock hopes for a healthy 2014 after reaching Virginia AAA state semifinals despite injuries.
– Centennial ended Glenelg’s 60-game Howard County winning streak in boys’ lacrosse in the two team’s season opener to make for an interesting Howard County race. The WCAC also looks to be more balanced in 2014 with perennial power Gonzaga losing 20 seniors.
– Can Sherwood softball extend its 42-game winning streak? Will Lake Braddock repeat as Conference 7 champions? We answer that and more in this week’s softball notebook.
– Oakton’s boys’ soccer team has the bulk of its talent back after advancing to the AAA state semifinals where it lost to Cosby; Osbourn Park has been forced to wait out the winter weather mess.
– Other Patriots will have to step up if the Yorktown girls’ soccer team wants to meet its 2014 goals after senior All-Met forward Meghan Flynn, a Tennessee commit, tore her ACL in a club soccer match prior to the season.
– Anne Arundel County girls’ lacrosse is loaded at the top with Broadneck, Severna Park and South River are all vying for deep postseason runs. In the ISL, St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes looks to follow up last seasons 29-1 campaign despite the graduation of several top players.
PHOTOS OF THE DAY:
As we wait for the spring season to fully kick off take a closer look at Stone Bridge’s opening season 3-0 win over rival Madison.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Baseball: No. 2 Lake Braddock at No. 3 St. John’s, 4:30 p.m.
The Bruins defeated Oakton 10-3 to open their season, and the Cadets are coming off a 1-3 showing against a loaded field at the Hall of Fame Spring Classic in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. last week. If you are a baseball fan, this is a must-see public-private school clash between two of the area’s top teams. Just be sure to bundle up.
Recruit Watch: The latest offers, commitments and signings