All Star practices offer fans and media alike a pregame glimpse of the competition that will take place when the lights are on. What can sometimes be lost in those assessments is that they only offer a glimpse. Playing to contact instead of tackling limits how much can be read into some of the performances. Or at least it should. You can definitely make accurate size speed evaluations and can make detailed judgements on all elements of passing game (quarterbacks, receivers, defensive backs, pass rushing and pass protecting). The toughest thing to evaluate in the aforementioned practice scenarios is always the run game.
That brings us to some of the early week “overrated” assessments of Wayne (N.J.) DePaul Catholic running back Kareem Walker. The recent Michigan commitment heard the criticism and decided to push the limits of the phrase, “play to contact” to prove a point.
“The first day out here was really a slow day for me because I didn’t know any of the plays they threw at us and expected us to learn,” Walker said. “I was really just going through the motions and wasn’t going full speed and playing at the level I can play with. The second and third day I came out ready because when I went to the hotel, I studied the playbook because I didn’t want to come out and have another slow day because I didn’t know the plays and didn’t know what I was doing. In the second and third day I felt like I topped it off. A lot of the guys on defense have been saying to me, “hey stop running the ball like that, Jim Harbaugh isn’t out here”. That was really cool and a lot of guys on defense and top recruits aren’t even going all to Michigan. Some (are going to) rivals and some to the SEC, but they all look at me to make a play and that is real special to know that I got those guys on my side. “
The opinions of his peers and his coaches are the ones that matter to him the most, but again, he definitely took note of the criticism from elsewhere
"I don’t really have my phone, so with someone showing me something saying that I was indecisive or I was hitting the hole and I’m like man that is bogus," said Walker. "That was like the first day and I didn’t know what I was doing to hit the hole, so for them to go and put that out there was crazy to me. I can’t see anyone putting anything bad about me since I haven’t put the ball on the ground. I put the ball on the ground the first day, but that was the last time I did it and going to be the last time I do it. I think I am capitalizing on everything I was doing wrong the first day."
And he plans to do so again in the Under Armour All American game at noon today.