On The QT With L.T.

After a successful, albeit, frustrating senior season, L.T. Walker, of Wynne Ark., is in control of his destiny and enjoying the recruiting process. Today he goes one-on-one with IT to talk about his recent past and immediate future.

As the lone returning starter in the defensive line for the defending Class-AAAA state champions, L.T. (Lee Thomas) Walker got more attention than Paris Hilton on the red carpet. The 6-foot-3, 305-pound, four-star standout put forth a supreme effort in the face of multiple blocking schemes, but he didn't put up stats as impressive as his junior campaign, when he posted 64 tackles, five sacks and an interception.

Walker recorded 38 tackles (nine for losses) with three sacks as a junior, helping the Warriors to a 10-2 record and another playoff run. The statistical slippage may have impacted his ranking, which is currently No. 31 among the nation's defensive tackles, but it hasn't drop his stock among college recruiters.

"Yeah I got double and tripled a lot," he said with an air of resignation. "I could see that's how the game was and I was going to have to get used to that. I knew it was coming. That made it a little easier."

Walker took out some of his frustration by flattening opponents. Pulling double duty on the offensive line, he recorded some 115 pancake blocks and routinely dominated opponents with his superb size, strength and quickness.

The kind of attention L. T. Walker is receiving in the raging recruiting wars is both wanted and warranted.

"Recruiting has been all right," he said. "It's not too hectic."

So far Walker has made official visits to Ole Miss and more recently to Louisville. He is slated to visit South Carolina on Jan. 13, and to Tennessee on Jan. 27. He'll make his decision in the two days after his trip to Knoxville and national signing day. So far, Walker hasn't hinted at a leader, insisting it's "wide open."

He's also open on his opinions of Tennessee, and readily shares his initial impressions of UT football program.

"I'm being recruited by Coach (Steve) Caldwell," Walker said. "I've got a nice relationship with Coach Caldwell. We talk all the time. When I went up there for the Memphis-Tennessee game we really got to talk and stuff. He's a good guy."

Caldwell, who was an assistant at Arkansas State, before coming to Tennessee, has had noteworthy success recruiting the Natural State, signing Parade All-Americans Cedric Houston and Bret Smith as well as Leslie Ratliffe, Greg Jones, RoShaun Fellows, James Turner and Ricardo Kemp.

"Coach Caldwell came by the school one day and watched us practice," Walker said of his initial awareness UT was recruiting him. "After that they sent me a scholarship in the mail. Ever since then I've been interested in Tennessee. Anytime they send you a scholarship that means they're really interested in you."

The interest was mutual and it continued to grow when Walker had a chance to see UT on a football Saturday in Knoxville.

"I got to see Tennessee's (homecoming) game against Memphis," he said. "I went through the Vol Walk. It was nice, real nice all the fans and everything. It was great. The facilities are nice and the game day atmosphere is crazy. All the fans are real hyped up. They've got a good atmosphere. I could see myself playing at a place like Tennessee."

Although he has the talent to play on offense, Walker's greatest potential is on the defensive line where his solid leverage, quick feet, explosive takeoff and 5.10 speed can wreak havoc at ground zero of the trenches.

"They like me at D-tackle," he said of UT's coaches. "I talked to Coach Brooks when I went up to the game and I'll talk to him more on my visit."

When it comes to naming a leader, Walker isn't a big talker, but between the lines he walks the walk.

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