Alamo Bowl Notebook: Huskies Arrive in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO, TX. – Four days away from kickoff Washington head coach Kalen DeBoer shared the vibe of his players as the team arrived in San Antonio late Sunday night.

Most players on UW’s roster haven’t played in a bowl game. For a select few, however, the trip to the Lone Star State is a return home.

Third-year freshman wide receiver Ja’Lynn Polk, a native of Lufkin, Texas – about a four and a half hour drive north east from San Antonio – will have 40-plus family members and close friends in the stands Thursday night when the Huskies face the Texas Longhorns in the 2022 Alamo Bowl.

“It feels great to be back home,” Polk said. “The great state of Texas, it’s really exciting to me because to know a lot of guys are from the West Coast and a lot of different areas. One of my biggest things I’m really excited about and want everyone to go try is Whataburger.”

Despite only six current players on the team being from the Lone Star State there’s a tense debate in the locker room; In-N-Out or Whataburger? For Polk, it’s a simple answer.

“Me personally, I’m going to go Whataburger every time,” he said. “I’m going with the sweet and spicy bacon burger. Or the patty melt – add jalapenos – with extra patty melt sauce.”

Senior edge rusher Jeremiah Martin, who spent three seasons at Texas A&M from 2018-20 before transferring to the University of Washington prior to the 2021 season, now lives about four hours north of where he’ll play his final college football game.

Martin, a first-team All-Pac-12 selection this season, announced last Thursday he will declare for the 2023 NFL Draft. Before he embarks on his career at the next level he’s still got one final tune up game.

“I started here, now I gotta end it here,” Martin said. “I knew I was going to play this game. I wanted to play this season all the way through the bowl game. Even if we made it to the playoffs. I think that was the biggest thing; really competing every single game I got. Every opportunity I got.”

The former four-star recruit out of Cajon High School leads UW with nine sacks this season, one more than sophomore Bralen Trice and one shy of tying four other former Huskies for ninth most sacks in a single season with 10.

No Surprise, J-Mac is Coming Back

UW had a pair of 1,000-yard receivers this season, but only one received his due praise. The other, Jalen McMillan, received only honorable mention all conference honors for his career campaign.

Last Thursday, McMillan announced he will return to school for another season in 2023.

Although the official word from the sophomore came this past week, DeBoer had a sense that he would run it back for one more year next fall.

“In all honesty, J-Mac kind of let it be known amongst us inside that he was probably going to be coming back,” DeBoer said.

“So, really wasn’t a huge surprise. Even during the season Jalen’s been pretty upfront and communicated well with us. So, of course, until he makes it public you don’t know what might change. I think as much as other people have influenced him and his decision, I think he’s had an influence on others as well. So, we’re excited that he’s back for sure.”

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