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By Allen Moff | Staff writer
Kent State defensive tackle Roosevelt Nix and cornerback Darius Polk agreed to free-agent deals shortly after the conclusion of Saturday's NFL Draft.
Nix, a four-time First Team All-Mid-American Conference defensive tackle, signed with the Atlanta Falcons while Polk agreed to join the Indianapolis Colts.
Nix (Reynoldsburg) is the first player in Golden Flashes history and just the fifth in MAC history to earn first team all-conference honors in four seasons. He ranks second among Kent State's career sacks leaders with 24, and is the school leader in career tackles for loss with 65. In 2010 he became the first-ever freshman to win the MAC Defensive Player of the Year Award after piling up 10 sacks and 20 tackles for a loss.
Nix was undersized as a collegian at defensive tackle (5-foot-11, 248), and will likely play linebacker or possibly fullback for the Falcons. His size kept him from getting drafted, but his incredible quickness off the ball makes him an intriguing pro prospect.
"I think it's gonna be fun watching him in the transition, because he's so instinctive," said KSU coach Paul Haynes. "His football IQ is so high. I think he'll gain a lot of respect early at Atlanta when they see how instinctive he is and how much football he really knows."
Polk (Lynchburg, Va.) emerged during his junior season in 2012, when Kent State captured the MAC East Division championship and won a school-record 11 games. He was named East Division MVP after recording 10 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery in Kent State's 44-37 double-overtime loss to Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship Game.
Polk was named Second Team All-MAC as a senior, when he led the Flashes with seven pass breakups.
"I think Polk had a very productive (senior) year," said Haynes. "The great thing about him is I think he got better every game, and his leadership was exceptional. He's the type of guy that, regardless of what happens in football, is going to be successful in life.
"It's good both of those guys got a chance (in the NFL), and I think both have a chance to be successful in that league."
Among the other MAC players agreeing to free-agent deals was Ball State star wide receiver Willie Snead, who was signed by the Cleveland Browns. Snead (5-11, 195) caught 106 passes for 1,516 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior last season.