Walter started the press conference reading the following opening statement:
"The path I've been on at Arizona State has been a journey filled with many ups and downs. It has shaped and molded me into the person I am today. Along has helped God, my parents, Coach Koetter, the entire coaching staff, teammates, friends, relatives, alumni, NFL personnel and a select few outside of the Sun Devil family. Without their help would have made this decision impossible."
"They have enabled me to come to one of the toughest decisions I've ever made. It is one that I know is right for me. I have chosen to stay for my senior year at Arizona State. I have no reservations about my decision and there is no looking back. Some of the reasons include that I would like to graduate this spring; I want to finish what I started here at Arizona State and leave on a high note. When I do come out I'll be a year older, bigger, better, tougher and smarter."
According to Walter, the decision to stay in the school had nothing to do with the prospect of bring picked in a lower round.
"They (the NFL) said that I would have been a very high draft pick," Walter stated. " They're pretty conservative in what they say but it was my understanding that if I would have gone through the process I would have been very pleased with where I would of went in the draft. What I tried to do was hear their side of it. You can talk to agents, which is not illegal, and you can talk to coaches, parents, relatives and you can try to paint your own picture of what everyone says. You figure that when you're in a tough situation there might be greener pastures on the other side, but that's not always the case."
A reason that did drive the signal caller to exhaust his eligibility at ASU was the feeling of unfinished business in the midst of an underachieving season team wise. "I didn't want to go out the way we went out," remarked Walter. "I want to end up on a very high note as a team. Records and awards had nothing to do with my decision. It's all about how I want to end on a high note with this team and with the school and leave it in good hands once I go."
The notion of making himself eligible to the NFL draft did cross his mind often during the 2003 campaign. "Many times during the season," he recalled. "I said, 'This could be it.' At the end of the season my dad gave me some pretty good advice. He said to just let the dust settle and not to make a decision based on where I was at right now and the results of the year. After that I decided this was definitely the choice for me but I went back and forth during the season. Regardless where I would have been taken I knew I could compete at the next level." Walter added that in the first week after they season ended he seriously thought about leaving school, but as time went by he obviously changed his opinion on the matter.
The possibility of being the draft's #1 pick in 2005 was a concept that ex-Sun Devil Shaun McDonald, who did skip his senior season, introduced to Walter. This was another factor that aided the Sun Devil quarterback in his decision. "I talked to Shaun and he said that you need to do what's right for you," said Walter, "and when you do it make sure you're 100 percent sure it's what you want. I know if I stay that next year I'll have a legitimate chance to be the number one pick. That's never really been a goal or a reason to stay but when I talked to him about it he said if you think you have a chance to be the number one pick you should go for it."
The financial aspect is at times an overwhelming contributor in one's decision to declare early for the NFL draft. Walter, who will earn his communications degree in the spring, has a pragmatic perspective on the issue. "Having a year to prepare makes it that much easier to have the longevity at the next level," he said. "If you make the minimum for one year and you're out you still have to go out and work. This way I'll be better prepared for the longevity in the NFL and I'll have a degree so the whole money issue won't be a problem." And not seeing #16 under the center is one less problem for the Sun Devil fans to be concerned about…
Walter Forgoes NFL Draft, Returns for Senior Year
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