The next big thing?

Last year's class of defensive tackles was one of the best in recent memory. Names like Jerrell Powe, DeMarcus Granger and Roy Miller, all came to mind when talking about some of the most potential at the position from the prep-level in years. Well, L.T. Walker is hoping to join that group this year, something that's a tall order, but on paper at least, Walker has some serious potential himself.

At 6 foot, 4 inches tall and weighing in at 307 pounds, Wynne, Arkansas's L.T. Walker is a load, literally. Combine that with a reported 5.0 forty and he's a load, moving a lot faster than the opponent would like. That speed allows him to do something he likes, but what that is, doesn't necessarily fit his position.

 

"I like pursuing side to side," L.T. said. "I'm good at getting up field, but I know they are going away from me, so I like catching them from behind."

 

That's scary when someone that size can actually catch a running back from behind before they get a chanced to turn up field, but that's what is part and parcel with some of the best prep defensive tackles last year.

 

When you looked at a player like DeMarcus Granger, you didn't ask him what he could do, rather for the shortest answer, you asked what he couldn't do and Walker, like Granger, didn't have a lot to say.

 

"I think I can do it all," L.T. said. "I am big enough and strong enough to stop the run, but I can pursue across the line, get up field and I know I am going to have to deal with the double team no matter what.

 

Make that a triple-team this year, L.T. one of just a few starters coming back for Wynne high school as they try to repeat as state champs. That's the ultimate goal for Walker, so if he doesn't better his 5 sacks from a year before or the 64 total tackles and an interception, he won't mind a bit. "As long as we win, that's all that matters," he said. "I know I am going to get a lot of attention, so maybe that will help the guys around me to make some plays."

 

Yeah, L.T. will concede that he's going to get the gamut in attention, teams literally focusing on him and going wherever he isn't, but while Walker is more concerned with how the team does than himself, he's still wanting to have a big year.

 

"You don't need a lot of stats to be dominate or a key player out there," Walker said. "If you focus enough on you, that makes everyone better and besides, I still don't think they can stop me."

 

There's the good stuff, you have to admit, as you look at most of the defensive tackles that were considered amongst the elite last year, almost to a man, each one had that wonderful intangible that you have to have, to survive down in the trenches.

 

Attitude.

 

"You got to be mean as hell in there or someone is going to put you on your back," L.T. said. "You can't give them nothing, because all they want to see is you slip up just a little and then they think they've got you."

 

"I'm not giving them that, I don't care how many guys they put on me. They are going to have to work to keep me from making an impact."

 

He's done that to an extent already with recruiting, Walker stating the he was up to five written offers thus far. Arkansas, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Houston and Oregon are those sitting with written schollies to Taylor right now, but like most recruits, Walker is hoping for a few more. He even has a couple of ideas of the schools that he'd like to see get into the recruiting mix a little more.

 

"I'd like to get offers from schools like Florida State, Nebraska, USC and Notre Dame," Walker said. "Those are big-time programs and I watched all of them at some point when I was younger."

 

Walker said that USC had been by his school over the last week as evaluation month is winding down and he's gotten letters from all the other schools as well.

 

As to the Huskers, Walker said that what he knew was probably what everyone knew, i.e., the knowledge of the tradition of Nebraska, the titles of the 90s and so on. Outside of that, he was looking to learn a lot more. As for the rest, same thing, a learning process that he's going to try and take part of more as the summer rolls along.

 

That's what's on the agenda for Walker as he's thinking about taking some unofficial visits this summer, but isn't sure as of yet where they will go.

 

As for the obvious question when talking to preps in Razorback country, is there anyone outside of Arkansas that can pry him outside of the state? "I like Arkansas a lot and I have grown up watching them," he said. "But, that's because I know a lot about them."

 

"That's why I want to take some visits and get to know these other schools. I want to get familiar with them to, so I can compare schools and then I can decide."

 

Kick your feet up, though, because Walker is looking at his five offers, thinking that it could be a vastly different number as the off-season and his final regular season of prep-ball commences.

 

That's the good part as it's another chance for a state title, but another chance to show everyone that when it comes to some of the top defensive tackles, this year, you won't be able to talk about them without uttering the name L.T. Walker.

 

So, we'll all stay tuned to see.

 

Walker has a 2.9 GPA and has taken his ACT once, but will retake at a later time to improve his score.


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