Inside The Rams continues on in our series profiling each Colorado State class of 2017 football signee. Below is the Q&A with 3-star cornerback signee Jadon Walker, who earned Georgia Region 5-AAAA Offensive Player of the Year in 2016 after throwing for 1,074 yards and 8 touchdowns and running for 895 yards and 9 more scores. Walker was a dynamic quarterback, ranked as Scout's 6th best Georgia quarterback last cycle, but will play cornerback for the Rams. He played corner as a senior for Chapel Hill, so it isn't a position he is foreign to. Also, don't count Walker out in playing some receiver and/or returning kicks.
With that, here is our memorable interview with the motivated and well-rounded Georgia athlete, who committed to CSU on December 8, just days after his official visit to Fort Collins.
Inside The Rams: Jadon, we've profiled your recruitment from CSU in the past (Rams offer Walker / Walker commits). But as a recap, please break down your recruitment from CSU from start to finish, and how that whole process played out.
Jadon Walker: "They started recruiting me during my senior season and they came on really, really hard. I had talked to Coach (Joe) Cox and he had mentioned that they had a lot of interest in me. A few days after, they ended up offering me. I scheduled several visits and had plans to take all five (official visits), but I scheduled Colorado State as my first official visit. Once I went on my visit, I had a great time and I felt like it was home, and I committed and didn't want to go on any other officials, because I felt like it was the best decision for me."
ITR: Who were the other schools that you planned on taking officials to?
Walker: "Boston College, Ball State, Georgia Southern, and I had one more open space."
ITR: What were some of the highlights of your CSU visit that really stuck out to you and made it feel like the home you were looking for?
Walker: "Really, just going out and meeting other students from around the campus, and how they were so welcoming, how they talked to me without even knowing that I was an athlete on an official visit. It just showed me that this is how everyone acts to regular people, so it didn't feel like it was fake; it felt like it was really genuine with how everyone acted. So I felt like I could be comfortable."
ITR: Was that your first time visiting Colorado?
Walker: "Yes. It sure was."
ITR: What were your impressions of being out in Colorado for the first time?
Walker: "It was different. I went into it with intentions of it being cold. I thought I was going to be very, very cold compared to coming from Georgia. But once I got up there, I realized that it's a different kind of cold. It's dry and the experience was not miserable, how I was thinking the weather possibly would have been. It was actually great."
ITR: So did you have a chance to see any snow the weekend (Dec. 2) you were out here?
Walker: "No. Actually, for it to be December, I would have thought that I'd have seen a lot of snow, actually."
ITR: You mentioned your relationship with Coach Cox being a big selling point. What was your relationship with him like and what stuck out about him during the recruiting process?
Walker: "Just with him being from the South and knowing where I'm coming from, as well as Coach Bobo. They both know how it is to be from down south and Georgia, and having to make the transition there. I felt really good about them going through the same situation, but just in a different way, since they're coaches and I'm a player."
ITR: Did that factor in at all for you, seeing so many Georgia staffers and players up there at CSU? Did that make it feel more like home for you?
Walker: "Yes, it actually did. That was one of the huge selling points, as well as the people that are Coloradans. Just people coming from Georgia being able to tell me the same things... I just heard some of the same stuff, like, 'You're going to love it here,' and 'Everyone is so nice,' and it was just some of the Georgia athletes that were saying that. Seeing so many players from Georgia and recruits from Georgia made me feel like I could easily make the transition."
ITR: Can you list all the offers you picked up throughout your recruitment?
Walker: "I received offers from Boston College, Army, Navy, Air Force, Fordham, Georgia Southern, an offer from UGA as a preferred walk-on, which was going to turn into an offer; it was a weird case. Then I had other offers on the table that would have made it if I took an official visit. A lot of schools didn't want to offer me until I came back, because they were nervous about Colorado State. There were probably about four or five schools that were still on the table, but once I committed, they didn't pull the trigger."
ITR: Was there any temptation for you to want to play quarterback at the next level at a service academy or Georgia Southern like Ricky Dobbs (his cousin)?
Walker: "It was a thought early in my recruiting process, but as it started getting later and later, and playing this year, I finally got the chance to play back on the defensive side of the ball. It made me feel like I wanted to do more. By coming in as a corner, it gives me the opportunity to do things like return (kicks) and do packages on offense if I can do things like that. So I felt like I could have a bigger impact in the way I could change the game by doing that."
ITR: What are some specifics the CSU staff shared with you, as far as what they liked about your film and what you bring to the football field?
Walker: "They really like my speed a lot. They made me run track again this year so I can continue to get faster. They liked my ball skills through drills. I sent them clips of me from camps and stuff like that. They loved how I flip my hips and things like that. They like me through my school film and they like my camp film, as well. So they see the general pieces of me on offense and defense. They saw me do a lot of things, so it wasn't like they just based everything on me playing quarterback."
ITR: Seeing the new on-campus stadium on your visit, what were your impressions of that, and did that factor into your decision to commit at all?
Walker: "Yes it did, actually. It showed how serious they are about the football team, the football program and how they're trying to make their way into the bigger and better conferences. The Mountain West is a great conference, but I've also seen articles on them looking to expand and go to the Big 12. By doing that with the stadium, that could really help in advancing the program for the year that, it might be my junior year or years after me. But it just shows how serious they are of moving in the right direction."
ITR: Can you list all your postseason honors and awards?
Walker: "I received two all-state honors for quarterback, the player of the year for our region. I received honorable mention for the AJC and another honorable mention as well for another sports publication."
ITR: What was your favorite part of the recruiting process?
Walker: "Wow, hmm... I think getting a chance to see campuses, not only Colorado State, but getting to enjoy the visits of other schools and seeing the environments, comparing them to other schools. Then seeing what other schools had to offer outside of the football program. That was huge, seeing the college life and things like that."
ITR: What was your least favorite part of the recruiting process?
Walker: "The waiting. The waiting process. Early in my recruiting, I was going to several camps - Rivals, The Opening - and it felt like everything was going unnoticed. I talked to coaches and it felt like it was misleading, or I'd talk to them for two weeks or so, or nonstop texting, then they'd stop texting me or messaging me on Twitter, then go right down the street and offer another kid. That was very discouraging until later in the year once football season started, that's when a lot of schools started coming in and telling me how serious they were. Colorado State just felt like it was more genuine than everyone else. I felt good about them and that's why I chose to go on my official visit there first, so I could compare them to everyone else, because I knew if it was a genuine coaching staff, I could compare it to someone who was telling me a whole bunch of things just to get me there."
ITR: Experiences vary from recruit to recruit, but in your opinion, did you feel like going to those camps was beneficial for you, or did it really just come down to sending out clips from a few games in your senior season that really caught coaches' attention?
Walker: "I don't think me going to The Opening and Rivals helped me for recruiting, but I think it helped me for competition. I feel like once I went into the season, going up against the best in our region and things like that, it felt like the competition level was not as good as what I went up against in the summer. So it helped me advance my game, which helped benefit me in my recruiting process. It had its benefits, but it didn't directly help me in my recruiting process."
ITR: Do you remember your measurables, like height and weight, from your CSU visit?
Walker: "I'm 6-foot and I want to say I was 178 (pounds) then. I'm still about the same weight."
ITR: Do you know your bench max, squat max and top 40 time?
Walker: "(Bench is) 225, my squat max - I'll stick with my old one since I'm coming off my knee surgery - but my old squat max was 320, and my 40 is still about the same, about a 4.5."
ITR: Was your knee surgery recent, or a minor thing?
Walker: "I tore my meniscus mid-season and I played through it. I found out in the last regular season game that it was an actual tear in my meniscus. So I played through it the last few games, then I had surgery mid-December. My recovery - I stayed off it and I just start back up in February and I ran my first track meet. I ended up running in the 4 x 1 race. I ran the third leg and felt pretty good and we won first place, so I feel like there really wasn't a change in my speed and how I felt. I feel pretty good about it."
ITR: So you are 100% then?
ITR: What are all the track events you run and what are your personal bests in those?
Walker: "A 10.9 in the 100, a 22.9 in the 200 and in the 4 x 1 I run the third leg. Our fastest time so far is a 42.5 and hopefully we can get into the 41s."
ITR: Jadon, what's your favorite high school football memory?
Walker: "Hmm, I feel like there's a lot to choose from. Probably my first ever varsity game. It wasn't a true game, but it was a scrimmage and I got put in with 58 seconds left on the clock. I led the team on an 87-yard drive in 7 plays, and I ended up capping it off with a touchdown. It ended up showing my coaches in my 9th grade year that I could withstand and play on varsity. I ended up playing later on that year against two top ten teams the last two games of the season. They felt comfortable, like I could run the ship at the time, but they trusted the junior, so I ended up playing in-between games and in little spurts, just things like that. He got hurt and the senior I had beat out for the second string position, so they let me play those last two games. I felt like if I'd never had a chance to play those games my 10th grade year, things never would have went they way they did."
ITR: Who is your favorite NFL player and/or athlete?
Walker: "I have many, actually. Tyran Mathieu is one of my favorite players because I like the way he plays on the field, especially how he's a ballhawk and the vibe he gives off on the field. It fuels me every time I watch his highlights, because it makes me feel like going out and playing football right after. He's truly my favorite defensive player. My favorite offensive play would either be AJ Green as receiver, or Michael Vick as quarterback."
ITR: Is there a player out there, either at the college level or pro level, that you'd compare your own game to and why?
Walker: "Probably Adoree Jackson because he's so modern. Like, he's the closest person I can relate to at college as a DB. The fact that he plays offense and he does return and he was originally a DB. So the fact he impacts the game in different ways shows me that it's possible to go on to the college level and be and athlete, instead of picking a position and only playing that position specifically."
ITR: So is that your goal is to be like him at the next level, play DB but also get some snaps on offense?
Walker: "Yes. I'm fine with doing, especially in my early years of only playing DB, but eventually, especially in my junior and senior year, I feel like I'm definitely supposed to take over and be the captain. I feel like by then, that if I'm not doing my job by carrying my team, then I'm not doing enough. That is my goal, at least by my junior year."
ITR: Outside of your physical attributes, do you feel like your strengths are your leadership and intangibles?
Walker: "Yes. Actually, my coach relates me to Superman, because in the classroom, I wear glasses and things like that, but when I get on the football field, I play a whole different way. He always respects me for keeping a cool head. Like, when things are not going my way or when teams try to do small things to get at me and try to hurt me, he always applauds me for getting up, going back to the huddle and getting to the next play, running again. So it's actually me getting back at them with my play on the field instead of talking."
ITR: Do you play any other sports outside of football and track?
Walker: "I used to play basketball and I stopped midway through my 11th grade year. I decided, I told my coach, since he wanted me to come out and play basketball, since I wasn't planning on doing it. I played, but midway through the year track season was starting, so I felt like I should take track more serious, because speed always kills. I felt like running track would have benefitted me more than playing basketball. It paid off for me because I went to state for the the 100-meter. By taking track more serious, it helped me out a lot."
ITR: What are some of your favorite hobbies outside of sports?
Walker: "Little do a lot of people know, I actually draw. I draw a lot. It's one of the things fueling me to be an architect. I like drawing and my dream is to have my parents say I built them a house. I draw for fun, but I also draw in imagination and things like that. I piece a lot of things together, so I could look at a random anything, like a cartoon face, and I can draw it out in my head. So drawing comes to me naturally. It never really was anything I take serious, but I do do it for fun, most of the time."
ITR: I take it you want to major in architecture?
Walker: "Yes. They told me I'd probably have to build my major, because Colorado State does not actually offer architecture, so I'm going into the civil engineering school, which is probably the closest thing to get to actually doing architecture. But I'll work and get as close as I can to being a full architecture major. So whatever I have to do."
ITR: What is your dream job then?
Walker: "To be an architect. I plan on being my own boss, so I want to do architecture and be my own entrepreneur. I want to learn how to run a business and how to manage a business, as well as being an architect. In doing those two things, I want to learn foreign languages, so I can do business deals and business offers overseas and in different countries, because I want to expand myself not just in the United States. I feel there's more out there to see and more out there to do then just staying closed in. The main language I want to learn is Mongolian, so I can go over to China. I feel like they are improving fast and they're doing a lot of things with buildings and things like that. That's my number one goal is to get out there and have a chance to put my own mark out there."
ITR: Do you have a favorite pair of shoes?
Walker: "Jordans. Not any type of Jordan, but only Retro Jordans. That's pretty much my favorite shoe. You never can go wrong with Jordans. Also, I like running shoes to switch it up a little bit. You always need a variety of things to wear. But Jordans are my main ones. I love them."
ITR: You mentioned drawing, but what's something about you most people may not know?
Walker: "I guess you could say I'm the nerdy jock. A lot of people don't really realize it, but that's what I am. I take honors classes and I break all stereotypes of what people think when you think of the quarterback who is very, I mean, a lot of people know him and stuff like that. But I'm the complete opposite when it comes to things like education. I like to break barriers when it comes to that."
ITR: What do you feel like you'll specifically bring to CSU's secondary and the team overall?
Walker: "My idea is to come in and bring the tenacity and the ballhawking skills. Just the reckless skill, but also being smart with the things that I do. I guess (I'll bring) a different feel to the whole secondary. I want to be the go-getter."
ITR: I know you're doing track, but what does your offseason training program look like?
Walker: "I train with I Dare You. It's a football training company based out of Atlanta. We do very, very intense workouts and training. It's based upon cornerbacks and safeties, but they do receivers and things like that. I started out as a receiver, but then I ended up falling over into the DB side of it. I actually compliment and thank them a lot for the things they have done for me. I'll be doing that until June 9, then I stay in Fort Collins two days before move in day."
ITR: From what you know about CSU's personnel at cornerback, do you feel like you can come in right away and see significant playing time as a true freshman?
Walker: "Yes. I feel like if I study film really, really well and bring my attributes out to the field and be my normal self, then the thing I'll have to do the most is study film and learn different things about the coverages and the playbook. Other than that, I feel like I can have a huge impact on the field."
ITR: Do you know who you're going to room with your freshman year?
Walker: "If it's two people, it'll be with E.J. Scott. If it's four people, then the next person we have is Ellison (Hubbard) from Grayson High School. We're trying to figure out who would be our fourth person, because I think we want to try to keep the Georgia feel so we can always relate to each other. So I think the last person would be Emmanuel (Jones)."
ITR: I know you wore no. 2 in high school, but do you know what jersey number you'll wear at CSU?
Walker: "Right now they have me pencilled in as no. 9. I talked to Rob (Awunganyi) when I had mentioned my number. Coaches told me he was originally planning on switching to no. 9, so I could stick with 2, but I talked to him and he said he would stick with the number he has now. I quickly notified coaches that I wanted to have no. 9 then. It was my first ever football number and I want to start back over since I'm turning over a new chapter in life."
ITR: Last question for you, Jadon: What are you most excited about in starting this next chapter of your life and being a CSU Ram?
Walker: "My dreams. This is one of the first stages of making it closer and closer to my dream of being an NFL athlete. My goal is to leave a huge mark and start out my legacy, hopefully as a Hall of Famer, or anything of that type of criteria. That is my goal."