D’Andre Walker, the 4-star defensive end from Langston Hughes High School, won’t be able to make his official visit to UGA this weekend.
But he has a good reason: Walker is postponing because he wants to take the ACT test on Saturday morning.
And, if things work out, Walker still may show up on UGA’s campus this weekend on an unofficial visit. (He’ll just wait and take the real thing in January).
“He is not going to be able to officially visit UGA this weekend,” Langston Hughes coach Willie Cannon told the AJC. “He has the ACT this weekend. When he originally set that trip up, he didn’t know that it fell on the same weekend as the test. So he wants to make sure he takes the ACT this weekend.
“He is still going to go down there on an unofficial and show his mother around a little bit. He has been down there a lot, and actually knows his way around there some.”
The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder has kept a low profile in recruiting circles to focus on his senior season. And what a senior season it was. Walker registered 23.5 sacks, despite being a marked man.
“He had a great senior season,” Cannon said. “He finished with all those sacks despite facing a lot of double- and triple-team blocking.”
Why all the sacks? “He has a motor that just won’t stop,” his coach said. “There was a picture in the Newnan newspaper where he was jumping over the running back who was trying to block him to make a sack on the quarterback. That’s the type of effort he gave on a daily basis — even in practice.”
Walker, who is rated as the state’s No. 18 overall prospect, took his first official visit last weekend, touring Tennessee.
“Overall, he enjoyed the visit,” Cannon said. “It gave him a chance to check out some things that he’s truly interested in. His mom had a chance to go, and get a good visual of Tennessee herself. I don’t think she had been there before. So she got to see what Tennessee had to offer.”
What appeals to Walker about UGA? “He likes the school, and he likes the way they utilize the defensive ends in different positions at UGA. He wouldn’t always have to play with his hands in the ground, and he wouldn’t always be considered an outside linebacker. They would utilize him both ways and let him rush the passer.”
It appears to be a three-way competition between UGA, Auburn and Tennessee. Walker will also take an official visit next month to Auburn.
“He likes their defensive scheme,” Cannon said. “He likes how they’ve had some success in sending some guys in the NFL.”
Walker keeps in touch with Auburn defensive line coach Rodney Garner, the former UGA assistant. Garner’s future at Auburn is unknown because the Tigers are in the process of hiring a new defensive coordinator.
“He’s paying attention to the coaching changes, but right now he’s comfortable with talking to Rodney Garner,” Cannon said. “He has a great feel for Rodney. Right now, he’s really trying to think everything through.”
Virginia, Missouri and North Carolina are also heavily pursuing Walker, and his coach wouldn’t be surprised if South Carolina and Louisville jumped in, too.
“All the colleges say they love his motor, his high energy, and how he is relentless,” Cannon said.