Better than Advertised

Christian Brothers linebacker Chris Walker, who committed to Tennessee last weekend, is rated a three-star prospect, but he has received five-star attention and he may have more value than anyone the Vols will sign in 2007.

At 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, he has the size of a classic middle linebacker, and his 4.65 speed gives him the mobility needed to cover sideline to sideline. He also possesses ample athleticism and valuable versatility.

Over the last two seasons, C-Walk played four different positions for the Purple Wave and that was just on defense. Depending on the opponent, alignment or injuries to other starters he as seamlessly moved from middle linebacker to both outside linebacker spots and to defensive end. A four-year starter he played tight end on offense.

"I'm really long and rangy," Walker said. "I can run. I'm really explosive and I have good closing speed. I'm quick and strong at the attack point. That's what a lot of coaches look at and like about me."

Opponents can be sure he'll consistently be around the football, and that he'll arrive with a big stick, creating widespread separation anxiety among running backs unfortunate enough to be caught in his cross hairs. Over his junior and senior seasons Walker forced a dozen fumbles and compiled more than 150 tackles.

Walker is a preseason all-state basketball player with several scholarship offers in the sport. He has a 36-inch vertical. He bench presses 320 pounds, squats 450 and clears 290 in the power clean.

The list of schools that offered Walker in football reads like a Who's Who of perennial pigskin powers — Notre Dame, Michigan, Florida State, Miami, LSU, Alabama, Arkansas and Clemson are just a small sampling of his scholarship options. He did his homework, visiting about a dozen colleges unofficially over the summer.

He took his official visit to Tennessee last week and decided to bring the whole process to an abrupt conclusion before taking scheduled visits to LSU and Clemson. Although he was long believed to favor UT, his decision to commit when he did was a surprise. Was there a moment when he simply surrendered to his heart.

"Well we were talking the last day of visit," he said. "We talked to the coaches that morning and then we were going to Coach Fulmer's house. Before we got to talk to Coach Fulmer, I sat down with my mom and told her. ‘This is where I want to be. I'm so comfortable with the people, so comfortable with the players, coaches and everything.' That was the main thing with me, wanting to be comfortable with the place I'm going to be. I felt like there was no other place I could be. It just felt right in my heart so I went ahead and made a decision."

Have the Vols discussed how they plan to utilize the diverse defensive prospect who is ranked the nation's No. 16 outside linebacker by

"They (Vols) said they were going to play me at outside linebacker," he said. "But they are going to play me in a position where I can bring pressure off the edge when they need me to. I played middle linebacker the last two games of the season. I played outside linebacker the first game of the season and I played defensive end most of the year."

Walker says he has developed a good relationship with fellow UT commitment B.J. Coleman, a quarterback at Chattanooga McCallie. Their teams met in the state semifinal, and the former foes may room together on The Hill.

"We went to the state semifinals and ended up losing to B.J. Coleman's team, Chattanooga McCallie," Walker said. "I really like B.J. He's one of the nicest most straightforward people I have met. I like B.J. and I think we'll be really good teammates, and we're talking about being roommates at Tennessee."

That's quite a change. C-Walk is used to hitting the quarterback for a sack. Now he'll hit the sack for a quarterback.

Editor's Note: Check out the complete IT interview with Chris Walker in the next issue of Rocky Top News to find out hs favorite moment on the recruiting trail along with other info. Remember if you're not getting Rocky Top News you're only getting half the story.

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