Ja'Lynn Polk is the third East Texas sophomore to pick up an NCAA Division I FBS offer.

Illinois entered the Lufkin receiver's picture Thursday in a move that probably will be perceived favorably by the region. Gladewater native and former Big Sandy star Lovie Smith heads the Fighting Illini program.

Polk (6-2, 175) did not play with the Lufkin varsity team last season, but he'll be the third receiver on the Panthers' 2017 squad with a scholarship opportunity. Breylon Garcia, a junior, and Malik Jackson, a senior, own Division I offers of their own.

Illinois went 3-9 this past season, its first year under Smith.

Smith is most notable for his time with the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchises as a head coach, but he spent most of the 1980s and the early 1990s as a collegiate defensive coach before joining the NFL ranks. He earned Texas high school coaching experience as Big Sandy's defensive coordinator during the 1980 season.

Polk will become eligible to sign with any Division I school that offers him in December of 2019.

2020 East Texas Football Players With Division I FBS Offers

  • Kelvontay Dixon, Carthage, ATH, 5-9, 165 — offers from Baylor, Colorado, Oklahoma State, TCU (4)
  • Tren Jones, Arp, ATH, 6-2, 160 — offer from Baylor (1)
  • Ja'Lynn Polk, Lufkin, 6-2, 175 — offer from Illinois (1)

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