When it comes to being an outstanding football player, much of the credit for Memphis (TN) linebacker Chris Walker's success can be given to his genes. The 6-2 215-pounder's mother was a post player on the basketball team at the University of North Alabama, while his dad was a standout linebacker at the very same school. Once Mr. Walker's collegiate days were over, he even spent time on the roster of the Dallas Cowboys during their preseason camp.
While it is true that all of the younger Walker's natural gifts have brought him a long way, hard work and support from those around him have had been just as important. The encouragement he receives from his entire family has been pivotal. Whether it's his younger sister Briana, whom Chris says is going to be a very good basketball player, or his big brother Darrion whom Chris says helps him with, "comic relief when it gets to be to stressful," everyone has played a role in his development. That said, the youngster credits his father with really teaching him the game of football.
"My dad knows what he is talking about," said Walker. "He always tells me to be explosive on the field and to be aggressive with lineman…to try and pick my battles with them and to use my strength and speed while playing."
Another key figure in Walker's development has been his coach at Christian Brothers high, Kevin Locastro.
"Coach Locastro is a down to earth guy who is all about business," explained Walker. "Coach keeps us in line and he is a father figure who loves his players he has done a lot for us. We are like his sons."
The great tutelage Walker has received has helped him become a menace to opposing offenses on the field. A number of high major programs have taken notice of his outstanding abilities and have stepped forth with scholarship offers. Miami (FL), LSU, Tennessee, Clemson, Arkansas, Louisville, and many others have been hot on his trail months. One the newest suitors to jump into the fray was the University of Michigan.
"I was offered by Michigan last Wednesday," recalled Walker. "Coach Lloyd Carr offered me. I was very shocked and excited by that. I have also had a chance to talk with Coach Stripling, who is recruiting me. I really like him. We have been texting and talking on the phone. I am very impressed with him. I have also talked with the recruiting coordinator Chris Singletary briefly."
The Wolverines have certainly piqued Walker's interest with their offer, but the youngster won't know where they fit in on his list until he gets a first hand look at what the Maize and Blue has to offer.
"I really won't have a true feeling about Michigan until I go up and visit to see the campus and all," he said. "I expect to visit during the summer dead period."
Walker indicated that he expects to narrow that list of colleges down to 10 by next week, and then down to five before the beginning of football season. Aside from campus visits, of which he has already made a few, there will be some other significant criteria.
The youngster cited academics and relationships with his prospective coaches and teammates as very important factors. He also singled out style of play as one of the keys that he'll pay a lot of attention to.
"My style of play fits a handful of schools," explained Walker. "I like to come up and hit and play sideline to sideline."
As focused as Walker is on picking out a college, he hasn't lost sight of the goals on his current squad. As the leader of the team, he believes this year's his team has a chance at a state title.
"We should be alright," he said. "We have some young guys on the team that I need to talk to. They will have to grow up fast play up to there potential."
GoBlueWolverine will have more on Walker in the coming months.