Walker, Wildcats a perfect match

The goal for three-star linebacker Anthony Walker was to earn a scholarship and keep his family from the great expense of college. His hope, though, was to find the perfect academic fit. The Miami Pace standout will sign his letter of intent to Northwestern on Wednesday, and he can't wait.

Name: Anthony Walker
School: Monsignor Pace (Fla.)
Height, Weight: 6-1, 215 pounds
Position, Rating: 3-Star Linebacker

Scouting Report— A steal from the Sunshine State, the Northwestern coaches are very high on Anthony Walker. He enters the program as an outside linebacker, and will need to add some size to compliment his speed, but can be an impact player down the road.

Anthony Walker knew little about Northwestern before he became a Wildcat recruit.

When assistant coach Marty Long began to express interest in the Miami, Fla. linebacker, he grew very intrigued with Northwestern. For Walker, academics come first, and Northwestern was an opportunity he couldn't pass up.

"You're never going to have another chance to get a Northwestern degree," Walker said.

In July, the three-star linebacker gave the Wildcats his verbal commitment, picking them over scholarship offers from Minnesota, Purdue, Bowling Green, Buffalo, and Florida International.

Months later, with National Signing Day set for Wednesday, Walker feels the same about Northwestern.

"It's a great academic school, which I wanted to find in the right school," Walker said. "I can play Big Ten football. It's going to be special."

Throughout his recruitment, Walker has built close bonds with the Northwestern coaches—namely Coach Long, his lead recruiter.

"I have a great relationship with him," Walker said of Long. "We talk every week, sometimes two times a week. It's like a father-son relationship with him, and I also have that with Coach Fitz and Coach [Randy] Bates, too. They were great throughout the whole process."

Walker, who presently stands at 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, will play the role of ‘Sam' linebacker with the Wildcats. His immediate role for his freshman season has not yet been decided, but the coaches expressed what he must do.

"They told me to come in and work hard," Walker said. "And if I compete like a number-one person, I could possibly be a number-one person."

The Monsignor Pace (Fla.) standout will sign his letter of intent early Wednesday morning, then fax it to the Northwestern coaching staff. Later in the day, he will be honored in the school's signing ceremony.

"I'm ready to go, ready to sign, and ready to make it official," he added.

The greatest reward for Walker is the fact that he is saving his family from the great expense of college.

"That's the biggest thing for me," he said. "It's going to be a weight lifted off my shoulders, and they're proud of me doing that part."

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college athletics and professional baseball for FOX Sports Next since 2009. Emma covered the Nebraska Cornhuskers for Big Red Report, and currently covers the Northwestern Wildcats. He resides on Chicago's north side.
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