Recruiting is steadily picking up steam for Wayne (N.J.) DePaul Catholic running back Kareem Walker. The 2016 standout already had offers on the table from Temple, Rutgers, Penn State, and Wake Forest when Michigan added its name to the mix Thursday.
“It caught me by surprise,” Walker admitted. “I definitely wasn’t expecting to get it. I was in class and my coach called me down to the office. Coach Roy Manning told me over the phone. At first to people around me I was real humble. I didn’t go around saying I got an offer by Michigan. I was really humble about it, but I was very excited. It’s so good!”
It’s obvious that Michigan felt that way about Walker’s sophomore campaign. The opportunity to get his feet wet on varsity the year prior helped prepare him to be a major cog in his team’s 2013 success.
“I got some experience (and) I also worked hard in the offseason because I knew what I was going to have to do when the season came along. Guys were expecting big things out of me. The running back that was there during my freshman year had just graduated. There were big expectations of me.”
“The season went great. I rushed for 1000 yards and I ended the season with a state championship.”
That showing has definitely amplified the recruiting attention coming his way. Pop in his tape and the talented youngster insists you’ll see a tailback that is a big play waiting to happen.
“I am 6-1, 191, my 40 is a 4.5,” Walker reported. “I’m very fast, have good instincts, and once I break free I won’t be caught by nobody. Nobody is going to catch me once I break through to that second level. I won’t give up on the play, on the game, no matter if we’re winning or losing I’m still going to play hard.”
That’s the type of attitude that will endear him even more to the suitors hot on his trail. It certainly has helped in building his connection with Manning. Over a very short period of time the two have found a great deal of common ground.
“I started hearing from Michigan after came in on December 6th or December 8th, something like that,” Walker recalled. “It was Coach Manning. He is a good recruiter and a good person. He doesn’t just talk about football. He talked about life, grades, family, anything wrong…a lot of things. We just were talking about pushing yourself.”
“I actually have to call him in a little while so we will probably get into (talking about visiting Ann Arbor).”
Manning might not be the only person Walker talks to about Michigan in the coming weeks and months. Future Wolverine Jabrill Peppers just happens to be one of his acquaintances.
“He said congratulations to me (regarding the Michigan offer), but we really didn’t really get all the way into it because it was late at night.”
“He is cool off the field. We’re both competitive so we going to have competitive spirit on the field, but off the field he is cool.”
With over two years to go until signing day 2016 Walker plans on having plenty of recruiting conversations with players and coaches alike. And with no boyhood allegiance to any program he plans to navigate through his recruitment with an open mind until the very end.
“I just like college football period.,” he said. “I like to see clutch players make clutch plays. That has been happening a lot so I really don’t have a favorite college right now.”
“I want to go to a place where I can be an impact player. I know that I am going to have to work for it but (I want to go to) a place where I fit in where I like the coaches (and) the players on the team.”