UNC Scores Points With Walker

Ricky Walker made his first visit to North Carolina on Saturday since camping at the school last summer. The 6-foot-1, 270-pound defensive tackle from Hampton (Va.) Bethel was one of 21 recruits on hand for the Tar Heels' Junior Day.

"It went real well," Walker said. "I got there a little bit before everything started and Coach [Randy] Jordan showed me around. It was real nice. I got to talk to all my friends – Andrew Brown, Jalyn Holmes, and Da'Shawn Hand. I felt very comfortable when I was up there. The visit was all-around great – Coach [Larry] Fedora, facilities, the [basketball] game, uniforms."

Walker singled out the basketball game and the cornhole tournament as the highlights of the junior day.

"Both were great experiences," Walker said. "My teammate [for the cornhole tournament] was Jalyn Holmes – my boy. That's what made it even better. We lost in the first round, but we only lost by one point. It was real fun and I enjoyed myself.

"The [basketball] game was great. As soon as we arrived in the arena, we lined up outside the locker room and saw Duke come out. Those guys were huge. We walked onto the court and had a great introduction – the students and the whole arena cheered for us and chanted and screamed. It was a great experience."

In addition to a brief tour, Walker's early arrival allowed for some individual time with Jordan, who recruits the Tidewater Area for UNC.

"He definitely said they need guys like me on the defensive line," Walker said. "Once I came to the camp, they realized that's the type of defensive lineman they're looking for."

At the camp last summer, Walker worked out under Deke Adams. Thus, Saturday was Walker's first time meeting Keith Gilmore, Adams's replacement.

"Coach Gilmore definitely loves me and my family, and said I look great in person," Walker said. "Coach Gilmore is a great guy. He definitely has a great personality – that's what I love. It seems like I would like practicing with him – he'll joke around but he's definitely trying to get things done."

Saturday's visit did nothing but improve UNC's chances with Walker.

"The visit was definitely a plus for North Carolina," Walker said. "But right now I'm still open. In the long run, this visit will help North Carolina – I know that.

"No. 1, Coach Fedora was very excited throughout. And the comfort was big – the coaches made everybody feel comfortable. They all treat you very well and respected. Lastly, getting to try on the jerseys – I put on No. 9 so hopefully I get to wear that."

By the end of the summer, Walker plans to name a top school list.

"It depends how recruiting goes," Walker said. "If recruiting builds up a lot, I'll have a top ten before the season. If everything stays the way it is, I'll have just a top five before the season."

Walker says no schools are locks to make that list.

"I'm just enjoying it right now," Walker said. "I haven't really thought about that stuff yet."

Besides UNC, Walker has only visited Maryland since the end of the football season. During the football season, he attended games at Maryland, NC State, and Virginia Tech. Outside of UNC, Walker camped at Penn State last summer.

Walker's next recruiting trip is Penn State on March 23.

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