Tuesday, September 8, 2009

the recruit: Rijo Walker

Name: Rijo Walker
Position: CB
Hometown: Hampton
School: Bayside
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 170

ESPN: 75, three stars, #56 CB
Rivals: 5.5, three stars
Scout: three stars, #67 CB

Rijo committed at just exactly the wrong time as far as me finishing up this post is concerned. What with racing to finish all the previews before the season started, and then getting all out of sorts over Saturday's debacle, I damn near forgot about it. But here we are.

Anyway, the one thing that's different about Walker from most of our other recruits, especially on defense, is that the scouting services are all mostly in agreeance about him. And the offers bear that out, too - our main competition here was West Virginia and South Carolina, and mostly South Carolina. Sometimes you can ignore most of what the gurus have to say (ahem Kevin Parks), but in this case, they're probably pretty reliable. He likely gets a little bit of a downgrade because of his size (he's rather generously listed at 5'10", and even that's a tad on the short side for a cornerback.) I choose to ignore that when it comes to, say, Chris Brathwaite, who I'm irrationally excited about. You can do that with linebackers and running backs and such. Not so much with cornerbacks.

Walker's high school resume is fairly typical. Standout player, of course. 11 interceptions as a sophomore, which was helped by having a senior on the other side that teams were avoiding. When he became the player they avoided, the number dropped to four. No academic issues. Runs track. Kind of a prospect-in-a-can, but that's not meant to be a knock: Walker represents some stability and predictability in a recruiting class that badly needs some. This is going to be a weak-looking class on paper, and could end up a complete bust or a smash hit. Getting a solid, and just as importantly, instate player from a school where we seem to be establishing a good relationship (Jontel Evans is also from Bethel) is vital for both this class and future classes.

As for actual on-the-field stuff, Walker's even more important. Do you know how long it's been since we recruited a for-real, actual cornerback? Not picking one up last year was a mistake. In 2010, this could easily go from a major strength to a major weakness: if Dowling leaves, there's no real heir apparent to start across from Minnifield. Cornerback is not where you want to start a true freshman, but Walker could push for playing time that early just on lack of competition alone, and he should be a starter probably sooner than most of this class.

No comments: