While the coach of the program he almost committed to was testifying before an investigative panel (that will probably determine if he keeps his job) less than an hour down the road, Tristan Walker was making his own departure from the Colorado State football team.
CSU Head Coach Sonny Lubick informed the media after a two-hour spring practice that Walker's on again, off again career with the Rams was officially over. Lubick said that Walker had been dismissed from the team and would not return.
The highly touted sophomore running back from Claremont, California was considered the prize of CSU's 2002 recruiting class. CSU beat out, among others, Colorado, Texas A&M and Arizona for his services. Walker was in Boulder that infamous recruiting weekend in early December, 2001, when three women have alleged they were raped by unnamed CU players and recruits. Walker has never been the subject of any of the accusations. He was reportedly ill on the night in question, stayed in his hotel room, and returned to California the following day.
Nonetheless, he had come away from the trip impressed enough with the CU program to place Head Coach Gary Barnett's Buffs at the top of his list of prospective colleges, and very nearly committed to CU. A subsequent trip to Fort Collins changed his mind, and Walker signed with CSU in February of 2002.
He had encountered numerous problems with injuries during his two seasons with the Rams. As a true freshman in 2002, he redshirted after badly injuring an ankle against Louisville. In the 2003 season opener at Invesco Field in Denver, the 6-foot, 220-pounder injured his knee against Colorado and didn't play again. The injury required reconstructive surgery.
Before the start of spring drills, speculation was the Walker planned to transfer. He surprised teammates by showing up for the first day of drills, running at what he termed about "85 percent" and said that he hoped to see action in the spring game on April 24th. He told members of the media that he planned to stay at CSU.
Coming out of high school, Walker ppossessed a rare blend of size, speed and power, but injuries have allowed him to show only glimpses at the college level. Walker reportedly had a "non-football situation" that led to the initial transfer talk, but said had worked out those problems. Lubick did not say what brought about this latest "about face" and Walker's eminent departure.