It didn’t take Crisp County linebacker Quay Walker long to realize how tough his latest task would be.
Walker walked off the field shortly after his first team practice Tuesday for the RisingSeniors Georgia Junior Bowl. The attention he has received has been growing throughout 2016, but he admitted Tuesday’s practice proved this new challenge is just that.
The game will be played at 6 p.m. on Friday at Mercer.
“Where I’m at, I’m the big dog, like the best of the best,” Walker said. “Right here, everybody’s good. You really can’t have that mindset.”
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Walker is a player who is squarely on the map for several teams. A member of the class of 2018, Walker already has offers from 11 programs, including Georgia, as well as fellow SEC programs Florida, Auburn and Mississippi State. A strong showing this week among some of the state’s top juniors could draw even more eyes his way.
Walker, who arrived at the game’s sign-in Monday wearing Georgia gear then wore Georgia gloves to practice Tuesday, explained what he’s looking for when he eventually commits to a program.
“All schools basically say the same thing, so it gets kind of confusing,” Walker said. “I just want a school that will accept me for who I am, not just as a football player but even as a person.”
Walker is coming off a season in which he was a standout for the Crisp County defense. The Cougars won 13 games with Walker’s help before being knocked out by Cedar Grove in the GHSA Class 3A semifinals.
He explained he grew a lot during the season in terms of pass coverage as well as communication with his teammates on the defensive side of the ball, characteristics which were important in his team’s run to the playoffs.
“We didn’t really end where we really wanted to be, and things didn’t go the way we wanted them to, but I’m still grateful for the way it went,” Walker said. “I’ve got a lot more to work on, but it was a great season.”
Walker said his offseason will feature a lot of attention on improving his pass rushing. That solitary focus, however, now takes a backseat for this week’s all-star game.
Walker explained he knew a few other players in this game but for the most part found himself talking to strangers at check-in on Monday. He said he one of his goals for the week was to get to know many people during the next few days both at his position and across the team. Those faces may prove familiar later on during recruiting visits or may be helpful this week as the players prep to show out on Friday.
There has been a lot thrown at Walker in a span of a few days for this game. Still, he realizes the opportunity provided for him and said he’s doing all he can to make the most of it.
“It means a lot, knowing that a lot of people that’s now playing at the next level and in the pros have played in this,” Walker said. “It’s basically just competition, and everybody just getting better. That’s what I really want to learn from it.”