Alabama offers New Jersey sophomore

One of the hottest prospects in New Jersey regardless of class, Kareem Walker has been creating plenty of buzz since last summer when he began earning offers. He followed it with a dominant sophomore season and a state championship, and the interest has only grown from there. On Tuesday, Alabama was the latest to offer and he reacts inside.

When a running back averages better than 10 yards per carry and leads his team to the state championship as a sophomore, it's no surprise when plenty of college interest follows.

That's been the case for Kareem Walker, the class of 2016 Wayne (N.J.) DePaul Catholic running back, who learned of a verbal scholarship offer from Alabama on Tuesday.

"I got some good news," he said. "I talked on the phone with one of the coaches, Coach C (Mario Cristobal), we were talking and then he just told me.

"I was surprised, but my coach had told me that he was going to get in touch with Alabama."

Admittedly not that familiar with Nick Saban's program, Walker was informed of the perks of being a running back in Tuscaloosa by the program's offensive line coach and area recruiter.

"He told me how they always have big linemen at that school," he said with a laugh. "He likes the way I run and wants to try and get me down there for the spring game (April 19)."

In leading Depaul Catholic to the state championship in 2013, the 5-foot-11, 191-pounder accounted for 1,164 yards and 12 scores on just 115 carries.

"I'm just a real competitive person. " he said of his talent. "I want to win, so I run the ball hard to make things easier for the rest of my team. I try to do everything I can with the ball in my hands."

The attention Walker has subsequently received, with offers from Florida, Miami, Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and others in addition to Alabama, was actually somewhat expected.

"It doesn't feel weird, because when I was a freshman, my coaches introduced me to a lot of coaches," he said. "My teammate is going to Miami, (2014 four-star safety signee) Kiy Hester, and he told me it would be like this.

"It feels great to work hard, everybody around you knows you work hard, and then you see these teams on TV playing and then they talk to you and recruit you. It feels good!"

With the guidance from his coaches and players who have been through it like Hester, don't expect any big decisions to be made anytime soon by Walker. However, he knows what he wants in his eventual school of choice.

"None of them feel different from each other, but certain coaches are more comfortable, that's what makes a difference," he said. "That's what I'm looking for; it doesn't matter where the college is at. My family will support me wherever I go, so distance is not a factor.

"The players, the coaches and how they care about you off the field as well as on the field."

Walker will make his first SEC visit on March 1, as he travels to Knoxville, Tennessee.

"It will be my first visit to any school besides Rutgers," he said. "I just want to feel comfortable around the teammates and coaches, and feel like it's home."

With his recruitment now on a national scale, visits will be critical over the next few years, but only the UT trip and the potential Alabama visit are on the docket right now. Walker knows he has plenty of time before February of 2016 rolls around.

"I plan on taking it slow, I don't plan on committing until signing day my senior year," he said. "I've seen a lot of guys decommitting from schools and all, so I'm going to take my time with it.

"I'm going to stick it all the way out."

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