Walker Talks About IU Trip, Teammate Drane

Plantation (Fla.) High School tailback Zach Walker has already verbally committed to IU, while his prep teammate, safety Jarrell Drane, was in Bloomington as well this weekend for his official visit. Find out what Walker said about the visit as well as what kind of player Drane is...

Zach Walker's trip to Bloomington was a struggle.

The 5-8 ½, 186-pound running back from Plantation (Fla.) H.S. was treated to a dose of winter weather during his official visit this past weekend, including temperatures that were a bit foreign to the Floridian.

"I don't think they realized that 60 degrees for us is cold, and it was about 23 or 24 degrees there," joked Walker, an IU verbal commit from over the summer.

The wintry chill kept Walker bundled up in a big winter coat for most of his weekend stay in Bloomington, something that provided plenty of opportunities for some of his fellow visitors and IU Running Backs Coach Gerald Brown to give him a hard time about his trepidation about the weather.

"Coach Brown joked with me a little bit, and some of the players from that area were telling me that this was nothing," said Walker. "It's just something I'll have to get used to."

Minus the frigid temperatures, Walker said his trip to Bloomington was an enjoyable one. He was one of 11 players in town this weekend for official visits, and one of six who had already verbally pledged to the Hoosier program along with Matt Ernest, Andrew McDonald, Teddy Schell, Sidney Glover and Dennis Ziegler.

The trip gave Walker a chance to talk with players and coaches, tour the athletic and academic facilities, and get a taste for what life will be like for him once he arrives in Bloomington this summer.

"I got a chance to know a lot of the players, and get a feel from them about how the coaches are," Walker said. "It's different when you actually play for someone as opposed to when you're being recruited. But the players said the coaches are all really honest, that there isn't any crazy stuff going on. Everything they had to say was positive."

Walker also heard positive things about the direction the program is headed. Indiana narrowly missed making its first bowl game appearance in 13 years this fall, and with a young team returning virtually in tact next fall, his first season in Bloomington could very well include IU's first bowl trip since 1993.

"With the amount of freshmen they had on the Big Ten's all-freshman team, you can tell they're going no where but up," Walker said. "The players have a really positive attitude, and we're going to be really good. I'm excited to be a part of that."

Walker was joined in town by his Plantation H.S. teammate Jarrell Drane, a safety who also has an IU scholarship offer. Like Walker, Indiana began recruiting Drane last spring and they're hoping to get a commitment from the 6-1, 170-pound defensive back as well.

"He's a safety and a hard hitter – I know that first hand," Walker said. "He's athletic, can really jump, and he has football smarts. Hopefully we can get him up there and get a commitment from him also."

Walker would love to have his high school teammate join him in Bloomington in the fall, and he might wind up being IU's most important recruiter in that endeavor in the coming weeks now that they've returned to Florida. Walker said he talks to Drane about a future in Bloomington, but is wary to not push too hard.

"I push him here and there but not too much, because it's a decision that he has to live with," Walker said. "You can only push a person so much before they just block you out. So I let him know I'd like for him to be there, and during the visit when I'd hear something positive I'd nudge him and tell him to listen to this. So we'll see what happens."

Walker will also have to wait and see how and when the IU coaching staff envisions using him. A fleet-footed running back, Walker will join a stable of tailbacks that includes returnees Marcus Thigpen, Demetrius McCray and Bryan Payton, among others.

But that doesn't concern Walker at this point.

"I'm going to just learn what I can, and whoever I'm behind when I get there I'll try to learn from them and listen to Coach Brown," Walker said. "If you work hard, everything takes care of itself. So I'm going to just do what they tell me to do and more. The harder you work, you get the benefits. Everything you want, you have to work hard for it and that's what I'll do."

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