What I Learned Watching: D'Andre Walker

FAIRBURN - Matt DeBary takes a look at Langston Hughes LB D'Andre Walker.

Top 2015 prospect D'Andre Walker is a long, rangy prospect from Langston Hughes High School. At 6’4, 210 pounds, Walker proved that is a great rusher off the edge, and showed why he has earned offers from some of the best programs in the South. He showed great quickness off the ball, and was in the backfield all night for the Panthers. Walker looked very skinny for a lineman, and I believe he is better suited to play OLB in college since he showed more speed than strength Friday night against Grayson. He did a good job of using his long arms to move his man backwards before they could really get his hands on him. Walker also played great in run support throughout the game, and made a lot of tackles while chasing a defender downfield.

Grayson started the game running and throwing away from Walker, but Walker started making some big time plays for the Panthers on Grayson’s second offensive possession. He made two nice tackles stopping the run; one of the tackles could be heard throughout the stadium. With 1:18 left in the 1st quarter, Walker broke through a double team, and made a nice TFL to force a 4th down after a long Grayson drive. Instead of punting, Grayson went for it on 4th down, and Walker recorded another TFL to end the Grayson drive. He looks the part of a big time pass rusher, but I was very impressed with his ability to stop the run whenever they ran to his side. He was almost unblockable the entire game, especially in the first half, holding a good Grayson offense to only 7 points at the half. Walker got his first sack with 8:17 left in the 2nd quarter, and then recorded back to back sacks later in the quarter at the 3:08 and 2:30 marks. According to my notes, Walker recorded 6 tackles, 3 TFL, and 3 sacks in the first half.

Grayson decided to double and sometimes triple team Walker in the 2nd half, resulting in some success. However, Walker still showed some explosiveness in the 3rd quarter. On one particular play, Grayson was driving the ball and tried to get a little fancy with their play calling. Grayson tried running a double reversal that would end up going to Walker’s side of the field, but he beats the double team, hits the ball carrier hard 5 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage, and forces a fumble that would be recovered by a teammate. Walker would end up getting his 4th sack of the game with 2:40 left to play in the 3rd quarter.

Walker had an outstanding first 3 quarters on Friday night, but my only concern with him came in the 4th quarter. Grayson started playing better, and used their overall depth as a team to establish a running game. Langston Hughes was going 3 and out on offense, so Walker and the Panther defense were on the field for most of the second half. I could tell Walker was getting tired, and Grayson had success running his way late in the game. He showed he is an elite pass rusher, but Grayson learned pretty quickly that they couldn’t throw the ball against Walker and the rest of the Panther defense. Walker and his defense looked fatigued, and could not stop the Grayson rushing attack late in the game, which led to a Grayson victory. Grayson left tackle and 2017 prospect Will Taylor held his own against Walker late in the game, and looked like he will be a good prospect in a couple years

Overall, I thought Walker was the best player for either team, and showed explosiveness off the edge. He showed good speed, but it never looked like he was actually going 100%. He was a game changing player who was completely dominant for most of the game. Even when he didn’t make the tackle, Walker was somewhere around the ball at all times. A great pass rusher, he also did a good job in run support. One of my goals during the game was to count how many tackles he had, but I unfortunately lost count after 12. I would say Walker finished the day around 15 tackles, 6 TFL, and 4 sacks.

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