As a signee, wide receiver/cornerback Dorian Walker does not necessarily jump off the page. He racked up an absurd amount of rushing yards (2,262 as a senior, with 34 touchdowns) and led his team to the state title, but it was at a small private school, Mt. Paran Christian, and Class A private school.
For whatever it’s worth, he was rated a 3-star prospect by Rivals, with no ranking in the state or at his athlete position. One number, though, is particularly intriguing – 10.71.
It was his time, in seconds, in the 100-meter dash at his sectional meet this past spring, which was good for second place. (He was sixth at the state meet.) The following is a comparison of only two data points, but when Tech quarterback Justin Thomas won the Alabama state high school championship in the same event in his senior year, his time was 10.79. Thomas, of course, used his quickness and speed to lift the Yellow Jackets to an 11-win season and the Orange Bowl championship.
In a signing class that brings some speed – A-back Nate Cottrell has legitimate 4.3-second speed in the 40-yard dash; wide receiver Christian Philpott won multiple state sprint titles in Florida and plans to run for the Tech track team; A-back KirVonte Benson, who will enroll in January, won the state 6A state title in the 100 as a sophomore – Walker deserves mention, as well.
The speed is augmented by his recruiting video, which reveals him to be a two-way player with speed to outrun pursuit, good vision, shiftiness and a willingness to play physical. His size – 6-foot, 180 pounds – and long-limbed frame could send him to cornerback, which he played along with running back for the Kennesaw school.
“I would say I was overlooked, but at the same time, I feel like everything happens for a reason,” Walker said.
Getting noticed took some time. Walker attended North Cobb High as a freshman, then transferred to Mt. Paran Christian for his sophomore year, for which he had to sit out from varsity competition. He played as a junior, but for a school that had only recently begun football and was in a small-school classification.
“I knew that I was somewhat of a good athlete,” he said. “I knew my talent would speak for myself. I wasn’t worried about going to a small school. I felt like that was where I was supposed to be. If I went to a big school, that was where I was supposed to be. It was all part of God’s plan.”
Tech, and others, caught on as he led the Eagles to the state title last fall. Clemson and Georgia also showed strong interest. Tech was aided by connections. Walker’s father attended Tech. Walker’s coach, Mitch Jordan, played for Tech and was also a graduate assistant. He was won over when coach Paul Johnson paid a visit to Walker at school.
“That made me feel special, to have the head coach come down and talk to me,” he said.
Regardless of whether Jordan goes to cornerback or wide receiver, he’ll have plenty of competition. At wide receiver, Brad Stewart, Harland Howell and Philpott are in his class. At cornerback, Meiko Dotson and Dante Wigley are incoming freshman, and Lamont Simmons just transferred in from USC after sitting out his freshman season there. Walker indicated no preference of position.
He’ll also have the challenge of making the jump from the small-school classification. That would seem to be part of his motivation.
Walker said his goal is “just coming out there, showing that I deserve to be there and just making a name for myself early.”
1. Walker said his academic goal for his freshman year is to earn a GPA of at least 3.0. He plans to study business.
2. Walker’s principal recruiter was linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator Andy McCollum. “He’s a great guy,” Walker said. “He’s upfront with me. He told me good things, told me some of the bad things upfront. He didn’t hide anything from me.”
3. Walker is just one of two Cobb County scholarship players on the roster (not counting defensive tackle Jabari Hunt-Days, who had his scholarship removed when he lost his academic eligibility but would likely have it restored when it is regained). Howell (Wheeler High) is the other. Benson (Marietta High) will be another. Tech had two Cobb players, Synjyn Days and Darren Waller, in last year’s senior class and two more, Robbie Godhigh and Jay Finch, in the previous senior class.
4. Walker will wear No. 38, a duplicate number with A-back Roberto Hinojosa. A-back Sam McNearney wore it last season. While Hinojosa doesn't figure to be on the field much, the fact that he shares a number with Walker could be an indicator of the team's plans. NCAA rules allow for duplicate numbers with the caveat that the players wearing them can't be on the field at the same time.
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