Dallas Walker is one of those rare talents in the Volunteer State that’s getting ample attention before his freshman year on the prep level reaches its completion.
The 14-year-old is already up to 245 pounds and college programs are envisioning a standout defensive lineman by the time he would arrive on their campus in 2020.
“I mean I didn’t really expect it to come so soon but now that I’m getting into it, it’s slowing down for me and I’m staying humble about it,” Walker said. “I’m just gonna do what I do and try to do the best I can.
“I talk to my coaches a lot about it and my mom and you know they sit down and talk with me. They try to help me to choose the right decision and all that. So I just listen to the best people I can and always try to talk and communicate with other people who care about me.”
Tennessee was one of the first schools to offer a scholarship. He paid a visit to Knoxville this spring to spend time with coach Butch Jones, defensive line coach Brady Hoke and others. What stuck out to Walker was “really just like the environment, like how they all want to come together as a family and they’re trying to get another championship. The way they approached us was really nice. It was just fun going to see around the whole school and trying on the jerseys and all that.”
“It was a lot different because I got to talk to them a lot more and like took it to the locker room and I got to try on all the jerseys,” said Walker, who was making his second Knoxville visit after seeing the Volunteers host Missouri during the 2016 season. “It was nice. All the coaches was nice and all the people that was there to help us through it.
“They showed me a little more of the school and more parts.”
The Smyrna (Tenn.) High School freshman said the human side of Tennessee football has already opened his eyes.
“I think it’s everybody’s personality,” Walker said. “They’re determined, they want to be the best and especially that (Tennessee) is in-state — it’s like a two-hour drive from where I live. It’s easy transportation back-and-forth. I think that’s one of the biggest factors.
“Also that they’re offering everyone else that I’ve played with in the district and all that. It’s going to be fun to come back up here and play with the same people again and get to know each other better.”
Time around Hoke was essential as the D-line is sure to be Walker’s future home on the next level.
“He said he was trying to get to me — all the coaches, how they’re all nice,” Walker said. “He was happy that I came.”
Look for Walker to make a return trip to Neyland Stadium to soak in another Big Orange gameday this fall.