Williams on Walker

Chris Walker's emergence as a defensive dynamo this spring surprised a lot of people but Tennessee teammate Dan Williams wasn't among them. He saw this coming late last season.

"He's showing his speed out there but I always knew Chris was fast," said Williams, a rising senior defensive tackle. "If you watched the Vanderbilt game last year, on one play number 9 (quarterback Mackenzi Adams) was trying to run out and Chris just ran him down. I was like, 'Whoa!'"

Walker, a 6-foot-3 232-pound junior from Memphis, could be on the verge of stardom. Routinely termed "unblockable" by head coach Lane Kiffin, Walker appears to be making huge strides as a run stopper, a pass rusher and a team leader. Williams thinks he knows why.

"Chris is working hard in the weight room and the film room," he said. "He's a vocal leader for us also. He's really stepping up. Chris is really coming on. I respect the guy. Chris is going to be a good guy for us this year, and I can't wait. I'm glad he's on my side."

Walker has been especially impressive as a pass rusher in recent weeks. He registered three tackles for loss – two of them sacks – in Friday's final tuneup scrimmage for the Orange & White Game.

Making Walker even more dangerous is the fact the Vols have another outstanding player, fellow junior Ben Martin, at the other end of the line. If Tennessee's tackles can hold down the fort in the middle, the Vol front four could be much stronger than most fans anticipated when spring practice began.

"We're all working together," Williams said. "If for some reason the (offensive) tackle comes down on me, I know Chris Walker's going to make a play. It's all about the team. If three people block me, I know there's at least two other guys free. They're going to make the play, so I don't care as long as we make the play, get off the field and get the ball back for the offense.

"If everybody's going to attack me, I know the other guys on the line are going to make a play. I know they feel the same way about me, too. We're out there covering for each other, playing together, playing fast."

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