Charles Walker healthy, ready to start

Gifted sophomore defensive end can be a game-changer on the edge for Sooners

Hindered by injury last season, Oklahoma defensive end Charles Walker never showed his full bag of tricks. He said he’s 100 percent this year, after suffering his first major injury last season.

He’s hoping a new bill of health leads to more than just a few glimpses of his athletic potential.

“This feels different because I’ve never made it through a camp yet,” Walker said. “I’m really feeling good about myself. I’m pushing through it. I’m making a lot of big changes. I’m growing up some more in this game and off the field. It feels good.”

Even at 6-foot-2 and just shy of 300 pounds, Walker still runs a 4.6 40 with a body that resembles a body builder. Walker, who said he’s playing both inside and outside on the Sooners’ defensive line, believes that he’s more mentally sound now and said the injury doesn’t even linger in his mind.

“It hurt me a lot,” Walker said of his first major injury. “It hurt me mentally, too. For the end of the season, I had to come back and show that I’m going to stay. I’m going to heal. I’m an enforcer. I’m going to do my thing.

“This year, all that is out the window. If I get hurt, I’m going to fight through it. My team needs me.”

The 19-year-old has been full of potential since he arrived on campus at a three-star defensive tackle. He’ll be a starter this season, hopefully his first full year on the field as well.

“Athletically, he may be as good as we've had here,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. “When you look at his 40 time, his reach, his ability to change direction, his strength - all of it. He just has exceptional athletic ability."

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