Aggies Land JUCO WR

New Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin surprised many recruiting analysts by signing late-blooming Trinity Valley receiver Derel Walker. Aggie WEbsider's David Sandhop spoke to A&M's newset receiver and details his long road to earning a full ride at a D-1 BCS school.

In a bit of a surprise move on Thursday, Texas A&M inked Trinity Valley Community College wide receiver Derel Walker during this week's mid-term junior college signing period. Not only was it a surprise to Aggie recruiting fans, but it blindsided Walker himself.

"I hadn't heard from Texas A&M throughout the recruiting process, but Coach Sumlin called me for the first time on Wednesday," Walker said. "He said he liked what he saw of me the second half of the season and felt I had the size and speed to compete in the SEC."

It was a one-day courtship as Walker agreed to sign on with Coach Sumlin without even taking a visit to the Texas A&M campus.

"He asked me if he sent me the LOI papers, would I sign them," Walker said. "I told him yes. He's a passing coach and I'll be playing in the SEC. That's all I needed to know."

The Trinity Valley product emerged as a big-time playmaker in his redshirt sophomore season when he caught 42 passes for over 800 yards and 10 touchdowns. In his final two regular season games, Walker combined for 17 receptions for 271 yards and four scores.

It hasn't come easy for the Hillsboro graduate who was not recruited by any colleges coming out of high school. At under 6-foot and weighing just 150 pounds, Walker was forced to walk-on at Trinity Valley to extend his playing career. After a redshirt year, he dedicated himself to the weight room and worked tirelessly to improve his speed off the line of scrimmage. That hard work finally paid off in 2010 when he earned the starting receiver position midway through the season.

"I was not very big or fast, so nobody really recruited me out of high school," Walker said. "I just kept working and working to improve my speed and explosion and then I got the chance to start at the end last season. It just took off from there. I've learned that the key to success is focus and hard work."

While his hard work contributed to his improved forty time, it was mother nature that dealt Walker a good hand. Since he enrolled at Trinity Valley a couple of years ago, the Hillsboro native has grown 2-3 inches and currently measures in at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds.

"My strength is my ability to go up and catch the ball even in a crowd and I can use my speed (4.45 forty) to separate from the defender," Walker said. "I have a long way to go if I want to a good player in the SEC, and I know I'll have work hard every day to get there."

Walker is a redshirt sophomore, so he'll have two years to play two years. He received second team all-conference honors and will be given every opportunity to compete with veterans Nate Askew and Brandal Jackson for one of the outside receiver roles.

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