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Deone Walker looking for SEC championship

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Kentucky signee Deone Walker is a 6-8, 355-pound defensive lineman who can run the 40-yard dash in 5.2 seconds and describes himself as a “monster in the middle” of the defensive front.

Kentucky defensive line coach Anwar Stewart says there are other players that are as big and athletically gifted — but they have not played at Kentucky.

“He is long. He is big. He has great feet and great lateral movement and change of direction,” said Stewart. “He really is a monster. My job will be to teach him how to use his body and use those long arms God blessed him with.”

Walker, a four-star prospect and rated a top 250 national player by Rivals.com, surprised many by picking UK over home-state Michigan, Georgia and Alabama. He had 43 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and six sacks in seven games his senior season while also starting at offensive tackle.

“It was really stressful and came down to the wire. I didn’t tell the UK coaches until the night before (signing day),” Walker said. “I was just really comfortable with the UK coaches and how I felt in Lexington with all the players. I am putting my trust in coach Stewart and (defensive coordinator) coach (Brad) White.”

Kentucky senior linebacker DeAndre Square also played at Cass Tech High School in Detroit. They were not teammates but Walker said he had a “lot of belief in his word” when he talked to Square.

“Our coaches at Cass Tech spoke very highly of DeAndre and I knew he would be a fan of mine anywhere I went.  I could hit him up for anything and he would help me. DeAndre said the UK coaches would really look out for me,” Walker said.

Walker also talked to UK defensive linemen Josh Paschal, Octavious Oxendine, Marquan McCall and Justin Rogers, who is also from Michigan.

Offensive line coach Eric Wolford was Walker’s main recruiter after defensive backs coach Steve Clinkscale left UK for Michigan. Walker considered Michigan but said he “made a business decision that was best for me” by picking Kentucky.

Walker was “intrigued” with Stewart’s down to earth personality and eagerness to help make him a better player.

“Those are things that drew me to him,” Walker said. “One big difference about him and some other coaches is how he loves the game. He won’t recruit somebody that doesn’t love the game. If you do not want to be better, he does not want you. That really intrigued me.

“He gave me his word he would put in extra work with me to get me caught up when I get on campus.”

Walker plays basketball at Cass Tech and won’t enroll at UK in January like a lot of the recent signees.

“We have a great plan for him after he gets through playing basketball to get him going and get him acclimated so he will not miss a beat and be ready to compete when he gets there this summer,” Stewart said.

“I can’t wait to get his butt on campus. He’s a big kid who does not fully know how to use his body yet. But he moves very, very well and will be an incredible force in the middle for us.”

Walker is just happy to be part of UK’s highest rated football recruiting class ever and knows he has a lot of talented teammates joining him at Kentucky.

“It feels great but we have to come in and put in the work so we can show people what we can do,” Walker said. “In a year or two, we are looking for a SEC championship.”

Larry Vaught
Larry Vaught is a seven-time winner of the Kentucky Sportswriter of the Year award and has covered University of Kentucky sports since 1975. Larry now has a syndicated UK sports column appearing in 34 newspapers across the state as well as http://www.yoursportsedge.com/, and http://www.cameronmillsradio.com/. Larry also joins Mark Buerger and Anthony White on WLAP Sunday Morning Sports each week in Lexington as well as appearing each Tuesday with Tom Leach on The Leach Report.

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