Kareem Walker, the No. 1 running back in Scout’s 2016 class, knows he will be one of the most sought after players on the field this season as well as off it.
While the 6-foot, 205-pound Walker, a five-star prospect, will be the focal point of defenses trying to shut down Wayne (N.J.) DePaul Catholic, recruiters will be all over him as well.
His offer list is well over two dozen schools and is a who’s who of college football, and in the last few weeks he made a trio of visits as he stopped by Ohio State and Michigan, and then made a return to Rutgers, a school where he has become a regular visitor to.
“I felt real comfortable at Ohio State and Michigan,” Walker said. “I was comfortable talking to the coaches. I didn’t get to spend time with the players.”
Walker was there in early August, and he said he liked watching the practices because of the tempo.
“There was a lot of movement,” he said. “It was different, a lot different than high school. It’s back-and-forth go7ing to drills, from this drill to that drill, a lot of whistles. It was nice seeing how guys go on the next level.”
Both schools landed prominent players from New Jersey’s 2014 class, and Walker had a chance to speak with both. At Michigan, he spent some time with former Paramus (N.J.) Catholic five-star cornerback Jabrill Peppers.
“He was telling he liked Michigan and it’s a good place, but overall he was telling me to work hard,” Walker said. “He said you work hard at the high school level, when you get to college it’s really a grind. He was telling me to stay on my game and work hard.”
Ohio State landed four-star receiver Noah Brown from Sparta (N.J.) Pope John XXIII in last year’s class.
“Ohio State was fun, too,” Walker said. “Being around the coaches was real nice. I spoke to coach Urban (Meyer). I didn’t get a chance to have a really long conversation with (Brown), but I saw him and spoke to him.”
And there was one big takeaway when Walker thinks of Ohio State.
“I think of their offense,” he said. “It’s just real high tempo. It’s real fast.”
Finally, Walker visited Rutgers on Saturday for a scrimmage, and it was a high-powered night.
He said there was no new message to him, individually from the staff and the time was spent watching the scrimmage, and there was nothing new to the visit.
However, there was a bit of twist to the evening as the No. 1 players in the 2016 class, Paramus Catholic defensive tackle Rashan Gary, and four-star quarterback Jarrett Guarantano of Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic also where there.
“Coach (Kyle) Flood was talking to us about staying home and what it could be like,” Walker said. “I really wouldn’t have a problem with it myself but it’s just about getting the right guys, the right players, to develop something.”
Walker isn’t in a hurry to make a decision, and is instead focused on his upcoming season after rushing for 1,164 yards and 12 touchdowns on 115 carries as a sophomore.
“I feel like I’m one of the leaders on the team, especially on the offense,” Walker said. “Much more is expected of me from my coaches and my team than it was last year.
“I worked on my strength, my balance, my vision, my power, hitting the holes. I worked on my whole game, like learning to take better reads, seeing things before they develop on the field.”