Walls High On Tigers Following Visit

Talented defensive back Avery Walls talks about his recent unofficial visit to Auburn.

McDonough, Ga.--Already with 22 offers in hand, including one from the Auburn Tigers just over a week ago, physical safety Avery Walls made a trip to the Plains last weekend to see coach Gene Chizik's program close up. Spending time with defensive coordinator Ted Roof and position coach Tommy Thigpen as well as seeing the campus and facilities, Walls said the trip was more than he could have hoped for.

"It was a short trip, only about an hour and a half," Walls said. "I know my mom liked that. She didn't have to waste a lot of gas. On my trip to Auburn I felt really comfortable there around the coaches and the players. I know the starting point guard for the women's basketball team, Morgan Toles, because we went to high school together. I found a lot of students that were excited about the school spirit and the direction that the football staff is taking a program.

"I got to meet with coach Chizik," Walls added. "He really liked me and my mom. We had a good conversation about where I would be playing. They like me at safety. I spent most of my time with coach Thigpen and the defensive coordinator coach Roof. We talked about the direction they want to take the team in and the pride they all have for Auburn."

A 5-11, 190 safety with 4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash and physical enough to play close to the line of scrimmage if needed for Union Grove High, Walls is the prototypical safety prospect on the next level. As a junior he made 104 tackles, broke up 13 passes, forced a pair of fumbles and recovered three fumbles. He also picked off four passes.

It's those numbers that have coaches from all over talking football with Walls. He said while the football talk was interesting, he got more out of what the coaches showed and how they handled the current players than anything else.

"They care very deeply about their players," Walls said. "They care about how they're doing in school. Not only are the academic advisors checking on the players, but the coaches are as well. Coach Thigpen had his players' grades on his desk and was going into the academic facilities making sure they were doing their work. They are going to make sure you are actually doing your work. That's a good thing that coach Thigpen and some of the other coaches were doing."

While Walls was in Auburn he had the opportunity to see the social side of the Auburn campus as he attended a step show along with fellow defensive back prospect Erique Florence. He said the two got a chance to spend some time together and hit it off.

"I got to hang around with him," Walls said. "He was a real down to earth person. We actually got to sit down and play some Madden (video game). It was fun and we enjoyed ourselves."

In addition to talking to the coaches, current players and fellow recruits, Walls said one of the biggest positives from his visit was having the chance to talk to Auburn's equipment staff about football safety.

"The most surprising thing to me was getting to spend some time with the equipment staff," Walls said. "I met with Dana Marquez and ‘Bones' (Mike Boniol) and they instructed me on how to keep myself protected during games. They took the time with me to show me how to properly use each piece of equipment and things I should look out for to keep myself safe. They also showed me how I could perform at the highest level with the correct equipment."

Now that he's gotten a good look at Auburn, Walls said the Tigers are definitely a team that he'll be seeing more of in the coming weeks and months as he prepares for his senior year. Still with so many options he noted he's not ready to trim his list down just yet.

"I'm looking at all my schools," Walls said. "I want to see as many schools as I can. I definitely want to get back to Auburn because it's a great school with great academics, great athletics and a great coaching staff. I have no favorites right now, but I really enjoyed my trip to Auburn. It was a great time. My mom and step-dad enjoyed it as well."

That's something that is important to Walls and will be a big influence on his decision when the time comes.

"It's a key to the whole situation," Walls said. "It's not going to be somewhere I go for just four years. I would be going back and forth to Auburn so it's pretty much going to be my family for the next 40 years. I want to ensure I'm picking the right school."

In addition to his football skills, Walls said he also runs track for his high school team and was once a hockey player. Growing up in Florida, Walls said he played both ice hockey and inline hockey early on before deciding to concentrate on football.

Walls said he plans to be back in Auburn on April 17 for the A-Day Game and is planning to be at several games this fall.


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