Arkansas State is another recruiting battle in the state of Alabama for Jonathan Walton out of Bayside Academy in Daphne. While most schools are recruiting the 6-foot-1, 230-pound Walton at linebacker, including self-proclaimed "Linebacker U" Penn State, the Red Wolves staff thinks he'd back a fine power back in their offense.
"I'm still being recruited by Coach Drinkwitz," said Walton. "UAB likes me at running back and Arkansas State as an all-purpose back. The rest of my offers are at linebacker. I'm hoping to get up to some of [Arkansas State's] games this season. I need to get in touch with them soon to get that started."
In addition to Arkansas State, UAB, and Penn State, Walton has also been offered by Louisiana Tech, Troy, South Alabama, and Louisiana-Lafayette. Over the summer he went to camps at Mississippi State, Tulane, Auburn, Louisiana-Lafayette, Penn State, and South Alabama.
"Mississippi State and Auburn are staying in contact with me," Walton said. "I wanted to commit before the season started but I think I'm going to hold off on that for now. I'm looking for a school where I feel comfortable at and get along well with the players and coaches. As far as distance is concerned, I don't care. I'll play anywhere. I'll open to playing either running back or linebacker [in college]. I've played both since my sophomore season and done well and feel comfortable at either position."
Walton attributes his success on the gridiron to hard work. He took a job landscaping in early summer to pay for his travel expenses to the Penn State camp. He believes the hard work he put in during the summer and camp experience will help him have a fine senior year in the Admirals offense and defense.
"I'll get some carries but I think I'm mostly going to be at linebacker," Walton said. "We run a 3-4 defense. I play in the middle but move around a lot to rover or spy. The biggest thing I feel like I improved on during the summer is my agility. I got to play against some top competition [at camp] and think I gained a better feel for things to look for in my reads."
Walton wears No. 25 for the Admirals who will begin their season on Friday, August 31st in a game against Charles Henderson of Troy. Bayside Academy competes in Alabama's 3A classification. Walton was the leading tackler last season on a team that went 11-1.