"I can smell it." Ashley Walker said of the atmosphere as football season approaches. "I can't totally feel it yet, but it's there, but not quite all the way."
That's the feeling most players are getting about now as practices are going and the season draws close to the start. It's the final year for so many and like those many, Ashley wants to finish on a good note. "It's like most goals I guess." Ashely said. "I just want to do better than I did last year and for our team to do better."
Walker will have to better his 8-sack total from a year ago, but Walker did say that even when he's got a chance at a sack, he's looking at getting a lot more than that. "Hitting the QB hard is great and all that, but I'd rather have the ball." he said. "So, if I get a wide-open shot on him, I'll go for the strip before I try to drill the guy. That way I can get the ball back for my team."
The ultimate team attitude could be genetic, passed down from his dad (Walker Sr.) who played for the Minnesota Vikings. A dad who coincidentally enough was coached at one point by current USC head coach, Peter Carroll.
USC had just recently offered Walker and between them being USC and Carroll's connection to his dad, that's easy enough to say they are cemented amongst his favorites. "Coming off a national title and coach Carroll having coached my dad, that's a nice thing." Walker said. "It puts them up there, but I'm still not saying any one team has the lead."
One other team that is "up there" is Ohio State, a school which he has his first official visit scheduled for December the 3rd. USC will get an official as well, but as to his other candidates, they could be Oregon, Iowa, Purdue, Penn State, Minnesota or even someone else that makes that final list of three.
Walker isn't in a hurry though as he figures he'll take a couple of visits during his final season of prep-ball and the rest afterwards and after all that's done, then figure out where he's going to go. Walker did say though that he was definitely taking all five.
Walker has a 3.2 GPA and has scored a 19 on his ACT
Steve Ryan can be reached at SteveRyan@bigredreport.com or 402-476-5006