Walker talks Terps

When we caught up with Christchurch (Va.) wide receiver Deion Walker this week, it turned out we weren't the first ones who'd called him that day to talk about Maryland. But it wasn't a member of the Terps coaching staff who he'd been chatting with about the possibility of playing for Maryland, either.

Rather, Walker had been talking to Bayside (Va.) star quarterback E.J. Manuel, whom he met during a visit to Maryland for Junior Day a few weeks ago.

"We actually talked today. We talked about Maryland, and we both like it a lot," Walker said.

That's surely music to the Maryland staff's ears, as both players are among the best juniors at their respective positions in the talent-rich Commonwealth. Walker, a 6-foot-4, 185-pound playmaker with great speed and athleticism, already has around 10 scholarship offers.

Maryland, Auburn, Penn State, Oklahoma State, N.C. State, Texas A&M, Clemson are some of the schools that have already tendered offs to Walker, who caught 47 passes for 733 yards and eight touchdowns last season. He also rushed for 300 yards, intercepted eight passes and was named 1st-team all-state on offense and defense – as well as second-team as a kick returner.

It's been a whirlwind year for Walker, who considered himself a basketball player up until a few years ago. Did he ever expect it reach a point where schools across the nation would be courting him?

"No, not at all. At first I wanted to play basketball. I didn't play football until the eighth grade. I only started playing because all of my friends did," said Walker, an explosive leaper who averaged 12.7 points per game in the hardwood this winter. "I've had a couple of dunk contests in my day."

Walker runs a 4.47-second 40-yard dash and is being recruited as a wide receiver by everyone on his list except Clemson. He's starting to hear from several national powers, such as Florida and Southern Cal, but isn't swayed by their prestige.

"I've been thinking about it, and I can't really jump on a bandwagon. Everybody's like, ‘Man, it's USC, you gotta go,' but I don't want to end up in a situation where I don't play as early as I'd like to," he said.

Walker has been to Maryland twice and plans to return for spring practice. He's being recruited by offensive line coach Tom Brattan, who has been steadily building the Terps' presence in Virginia and could cash in with he Class of 2008. Maryland was the second school to offer him, after N.C. State.
"I like it a lot. I like the coaching staff. The staff is just all-around cool people. My recruiting coordinator is coach Brattan and he's a really cool dude," Walker said. "Plus, I want to major in communications and it's got everything around there. It's like the fourth-biggest media market in the country … I love the environment there."

Walker plans to visit Maryland, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Auburn and Penn State within the next few months, and could even check out a couple of other schools. Though he's fond of Maryland, he's also not rushing to any decisions.

"I haven't really thought about [a timeframe for making a commitment]," he said.

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