Two seasons ago, defensive tackle Ricky Walker got on the field in 11 games as a true freshman. He tallied nine tackles, one for a loss, in what looked to be the beginning of a bright career.
Walker's time in Blacksburg still looks bright, but it took a slight detour last season. He was asked to redshirt, with a logjam of players at defensive tackle.
With some of that depth, notably Corey Marshall and Luther Maddy graduated, Walker is pushing his way back into the mix. Though Virginia Tech again has a pair of experienced seniors in Woody Baron and Nigel Williams, Walker has put himself in contention in fall camp to start. He sits with redshirt freshman Tim Settle currently with the backups, there's still a couple of weeks to go before the season-opener, Sept. 3 against Liberty.
"I'm just taking advantage of the reps we get, but Coach says every spot is still open," Walker said. "He didn't say one spot, but he said there's competition out there every day. So I'm just taking advantage of my reps. And however it falls, it falls."
Walker helped himself by decreasing his body fat in the last year. He's now just under 290 pounds. But he also cites observing more last season as a big factor in him getting to this point.
"I definitely sat down and just watched and learned from the older guys, Luther and Corey," Walker said. "And I got a chance to tackle school, so I got ahead and I'm good on that part."
Check out the video above for Walker's full interview with the media.