Video interview by Josh Newkirk
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Saturday during the Under Armour game was the last time Michigan five-star running back Kareem Walker would strap on the helmet as a high school football player. In just a few short days, he will be headed to Ann Arbor as an early-enrollee Wolverine ready to work.
Whether or not it has sunk in yet remains to be seen for the young running back.
"Yeah, it's sunk in," Walker said. "But it's still a surreal moment, it's still like 'wow.' When I get on campus and my parents tell me that they'll see me in April, I think it'll hit me more then. It hit me but not really how it will when I get to college."
For Walker, his immediate goals at U-M are simple.
Work hard and soak up every bit of information his head coach and position coach gives to him. Walker plans on coming to U-M and not change anything about himself, just stick to the basics and he'll go far.
"My goal is to just come in ready, focused and open-minded," Walker said. "Be a sponge to what coach Wheatley and coach Harbaugh got in store for me as part of the playbook. Being a man and a better person, I'm just ready to soak up all the knowledge that they give me and be the best Kareem Walker I can be and not the next no one. Just do what Kareem Walker has been doing since he was young. I'm coming in with a good mindset to work hard every day."
There's no question that the door has been left wide open for someone to come in during the spring and fall to take snaps away from the older running backs. Despite having experienced players set to return, no one has exactly demanded the starting role as yet. Whether the hard work he puts in during the offseason equates to playing time or even a starting role remains to be seen.
However, he knows that U-M puts him in the best possible scenario to be successful.
"When I committed to Michigan I knew coach Harbaugh and coach Wheatley put me in the best position to be successful," Walker said. "So if the best position is the first game to be the starting running back, then that's the best position that they feel. I trust those guys 100 percent to put me in the best position to be successful and have the best career that I can have. If I start, I'll start. If not, I'm definitely looking forward to a lot of playing time."