Inside the Class of '04: George Walker

The 18th in a series of interviews and photo essays on members of the Longhorn Class of '04: Signee George Walker.

George Walker
Wide Receiver
Houston Westbury HS
NR: 19 SR: 22 Rating: ****

An Inside Texas conversation with Westbury head coach George Campbell on George Walker:

IT: What are George's strengths as a football player?

Campbell: He has so much athletic ability, there's so much upside on him. I had the opportunity to play with his dad, and his dad was the closest thing to an all-state two-sport guy that you'll find. He averaged like 35 points per game in basketball and he broke all type of receiving records in high school at that time back in the day, and George has some of the same similarities -- his athletic ability, his leaping ability. The things that you need to be a big time wide receiver, he possesses. What we worked on here his few years at Westbury was his consistency and his focus, and I think that's one of the major things for an athlete jumping from high school to college ball is focus -- and you run into it again jumping from college ball to professional ball -- and he did a good job with that. He led the team in receptions and yardage and per catch and really became a leader, and that was fortunate because he's a really quiet kid and sometimes it's hard for quiet young men to be leaders (because) people are so vocal now, but he led by example and that's a good thing. And as the season went on and the pressures of the season came upon us, you started seeing the vocal ability come out of him. What I tried to teach him then was constructive criticism. There's a difference between simply criticizing someone and having constructive criticism and that's what he learned to do. He learned to talk to his teammates where everyone would not get upset. He just wanted to win and showed his desire to win and he did a great job with that this year.

IT: What did the Texas coaches tell you that they like about George?

Campbell: His athletic ability, his tenacity to get to the football. Those were two of the things they liked. His explosive ability after making a short catch, the catch after the run.

IT: What are the areas of his game that George needs to improve upon to be successful at the next level?

Campbell: When you're talking about going to The University of Texas and all the great athletes they have, and the standards that they have set for George, as he went through high school I tried to give some input on what he would be facing in college. The practices are different because they're more intense. That's one of things that we wanted to work on, practice intensity. He's a good practice player and he likes to make big plays in practice but his practice intensity where he would stay focused the entire practice. The coaches' cliche, they say you play like you practice and you practice how you play. I think the ability to catch the ball and the pattern running, he's been exposed to that, and of course you have to work on it to get better, but again the intensity in practice is what he needs to work on.

IT: What are George's most recent measurables?

Campbell: He's right at 6-2, 190. He's played at 6-2, 195, where he still maintains his 4.4 speed. Once coach Brown gets him into that weight program and the running program that they have there, he could legitimately be a 4.3-4.35 guy and he's really quick for a big man. He has the quickness of a little guy in a big body and that'll be helpful for him whether they play him on the inside or the outside, because he has the height to play both inside and outside receiver.

IT: Is there a defining moment in George's career, a play or a game that exemplifies his abilities as a football player?

Campbell: The spectacular catch, the one-handed catch, full-stride, running, the pass thrown behind him, reaching back with the one hand and making the catch, these are the type of catches he made that you could see the talent in him. What we worked on were the different things like the deep passes, the jump balls, the going up and fighting with the defensive back for the ball, the turning the defensive back to stop the interception, these are the things a lot of time young receivers aren't exposed to till they get to the college level, so we tried to impress that upon him here with those abilities that make great receivers. Receivers make quarterbacks, quarterbacks don't make receivers. That means that you need to catch anything that is thrown to you. And he did that. [laughing] I'll put him in the 90 percentile.

IT: What positions other than receiver did he play for you?

Campbell: He returned kickoffs. Had him on the punt team. Also on the kickoff team. That shows his ability to go down and hit someone and he did a good job with that. [laughing] His claim to fame is practice team quarterback.

IT: I've heard the word "polished" used to describe George...

Campbell: We throw the ball 70-percent of the time. We run pro patterns -- the deep comeback at 20 yards, we run the deep in route at 20 yards, we run the standard old school post and corner routes which are the deep routes. With the West Coast offense and different things going on now, people have gotten away from that and are running the shorter routes like the curl and the out and things like that, so I guess that makes a difference on a kid that has been exposed to those type of route running patterns, so of course they look a little bit more polished, a little bit more comfortable. We were in the gun a lot, so he had opportunities to run patterns and read defenses and to get in the gaps and get in the seams, so that probably gave the impression that he was more polished than other athletes that Texas recruited.

IT: What are George's best routes?

Campbell: Some guys are speed guys. Had a guy couple of years ago, Bennie Brazell and Bennie was a speed guy. We specialized in him running the deep spot routes, the deep corner routes, the deep post routes. George is an individual that can do it all. He can catch a six-yard curl and turn it into an 80-yard touchdown. That's the difference with him. He can go inside, he can go outside. B.J. Johnson was that type of receiver. He wasn't as tall as the other kid but he was the more well-rounded receiver and I think you'll see that when they go to the next level that B.J. may just step out among all the receivers. Sloan was similar to that, a guy that could do multiple things because of his speed and quickness. George falls into that category.

IT: You mentioned that you believe George is capable of playing both inside and outside, but do you believe he is better suited for one spot over the other?

Campbell: In my experiences with wide receivers, normally if you get a receiver who is 5-10 or under, they're more likely to play to the inside compared to a guy that's 6-2 to 6-4 to 6-5 playing on the outside. That's just the nature of the beast for the offense these days, but George is at a good position because he's in-between. He's 6-2, but he has the speed and quickness to play the inside receiver which may be to his advantage.

IT: Anything that we didn't cover that you'd like to add?

Campbell: He's an outstanding person, student athlete and a credit to Texas. That's the type of athlete that they bring in.

*Photos by Will Gallagher/Inside Texas*

NEXT UP: Nathan Jones

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