Walker takes mid-week visit to Alabama

There are student-athletes, and there is Darius Walker. Smart as a whip; sharp as a tack; you can basically choose your cliche' with the Georgia speedster. But he's determined to make a wise decision as to where he'll play football and get an education.

Rated a three-star prospect by TheInsiders.com and its No. 26 ranked running back in the country, Darius Walker (5-11, 195, 4.45) has been courted by some of the premier programs in the nation. This past weekend he was up North, visiting the Ohio State campus. Before that he flew to the West Coast to check out what Stanford had to offer. Next weekend it's Notre Dame, and then the Buford, Georgia running back finishes with Arkansas.

The AP national champions Southern Cal had been after Walker for his final official visit, but he chose Alabama instead. Today and Tuesday he's in Tuscaloosa, checking out the Tide campus.

"Those are all great schools I'm considering," Walker told BamaMag.com. "I basically can't go wrong choosing any one of them."

Arkansas is listed in the database for Walker's final visit, but he said it's possible he could reconsider. His father, Jimmy Walker, was a standout defensive lineman some years back for the Razorbacks, which explains the interest there.

It doesn't take but a moment for a person to see what the fuss is about. In the world of college football fast, powerful tailbacks, capable of running over or around would-be tacklers, are prized commodities. Add in the fact that Walker is an excellent student, and suddenly you've got a prospect worth his weight in recruiting gold.

"All this attention, just for carrying a football," Walker said, shaking his head and smiling. "It's hard to imagine, but I think I'll just enjoy it while I can."

Walker has had a lot of very nice things to say about Notre Dame, but Bama's Paul Randolph has made up significant ground recently.

Walker's database profile describes him as an athlete with "exceptional speed, good vision and balance." During his senior season, Walker gained 2,408 rushing yards and scored a startling 46 touchdowns, a record for the state of Georgia. Led by Walker's runs, Buford High School captured the state title.

Walker "just happens" to be friends with fellow Georgian Lorenzo Washington (6-5, 275, 4.75), who plays defensive tackle for Grayson High School in Loganville. Washington of course is a highly prized Tide recruit as well, rumored to be leaning to Alabama.

Walker's high school teammate, Neil Brown (6-1, 248, 4.9), has also recently scheduled an official visit to Alabama. Brown plays on the defensive line.

Last month he picked up the Gatorade Player of the Year award for the state of Georgia, as well as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Player of the Year. Perhaps the most prestigious honor of all has come as a Finalist for the Watkins Award, which is given annually to the top African-American male high school senior scholar-athlete in the country. The Watkins Award recognizes the best combination of elite athletic accomplishments bundled with top-end scholastic record and community involvement.

RECRUITING NOTES: Alabama is allowed to bring in 19 new scholarshipped players this fall. The Tide is expected to sign as many as 25-26 players in February, anticipating that several will not become qualified. It's also possible that one or more players may be asked to delay entry into The University until the following January, counting against 2005 scholarship numbers, depending on how qualifying issues play out.

Read all of the recent recruiting stories on Alabama recruits from TheInsiders.com.

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