University of Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino is a big fan of prospects enrolling early and getting a jump start on their careers with the Cardinals. He's had several key players enroll and participate in spring practice in his time at U of L.
All three defensive players arrived on campus in early January, started working out with the team and participated in spring ball with the Cardinals, giving them a head start on the rest of the newcomers - many who arrived this week.
"It's a really big benefit," Petrino said in January. "It gives them time to get here, get adjusted and start getting to know what we expect of them, what they have to do and just the familiarity."
U of L defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said towards the end of spring ball that all three players had turned in solid efforts during spring practice and had a shot to see some playing time come this fall.
Defensive line coach L.D. Scott said the the early guys already have a leg up on the other newcomers.
"They went through spring ball and had some ups and some downs," Scott said. "But they know what to expect come fall camp."
The 6-foot-1, 300-pound Walker is a native of Tyrone, Ga., and was the defensive MVP of the national junior-college title. He helped NW Mississippi to a 10-1 record this season, logging 21 tackles and four sacks in eight games.
He attended Sandy Creek High School, the same school as current U of L players Shaq Wiggins and JaQuay Savage.
"Chris was just fine (during the spring)," Scott said. "We have some depth there but he has to work through it."
Walker is another junior college product. He played high school ball at Callaway, Miss., Jackson High School and then was rated as the No. 4 junior-college cornerback in the country by Scout.com. He had 15 tackles, four pass break ups and one interception in his final JUCO season at Copriah-Lincoln in Mississippi.
The 6-foot-6, 255-pound Slater is a former commitment to South Florida. He flipped his commitment in December after a visit to U of L and then enrolled a few weeks later.
"Those guys are going to help our depth," Grantham said. "We have some good newcomers, so that helps us more."