Wednesday, January 25, 2012

the recruit: Divante Walker

Name: Divante Walker
Position: CB
Hometown: Virginia Beach
School: Salem
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 160

24/7: 83; three stars; #89 ATH; VA #32
ESPN: 71; two stars; #186 RB; Atlantic #284; VA #61
Rivals: 5.3; two stars
Scout: N/R

Other offers: instate I-AAs only

Almost a year ago to the day since Divante Walker committed on Sunday, UVA took Mason Thomas's commitment, a surprise since Thomas's entire profile (what there was of it) screamed I-AA and nobody had ever heard his name and UVA's in the same sentence.  The more things change.  Like Thomas, Walker was an uncommitted recruit (this year, he was the only one) at UVA's Verbally Committed Recruit Extravaganza and All-Weekend Party, so he was surrounded by a bunch of guys saying "you're coming too, right?"

Walker is a little bit different though, which means a little bit more optimism.  For one thing, he was first-team all-region as selected by the coaches, and made the Virginian-Pilot's first-team all-Tidewater as well.  (Thomas was only second-team in the district.)  Walker got these honors on the strength of his work at running back, where he totaled nearly 1,400 yards rushing.  One recruiting site offers a really high rating for a guy who had no other I-A offers; in fact, 24/7 has him higher-rated than guys like Sean Karl (BC and Syracuse offers), Kye Morgan (Illinois, Cincy, BC), and Demeitre Brim, who Wisconsin and Miami tried to pull away from a UVA commitment.  To them he's the #32 prospect in the state, and that's still not as optimistic as it gets; Doug Doughty ranks him 28th, ahead of four UVA commits and three Tech ones.

The other sites, though, are way down on him, dropping mid-to-low two-star ratings.  Why the huge discrepancy?  I'm willing to bet it's not a coincidence that the optimistic assessments are the ones that think he's 175 pounds (as Doughty does) and the pessimistic ones list him at 157.  Somebody, somewhere, made a typo, and it spread, and I don't know which it's supposed to be.

Truthfully, I don't believe either.  It's probably in the middle.  He doesn't look like 175 pounds in his pictures at all.  On the other hand, I'm 5'7" and can't get down to 157 to save my life.  Walker is 5'10" or 11", if he weighs 157 pounds he's got no muscle and is strong like mosquito, which would explain all the low ratings.

The problem with those accolades, of course, is that Walker won't be playing RB for us.  At this point there's no need for yet another small back.  There is a need for athletic bodies with cornerback experience, so toss Walker into that very large mix of incoming freshmen.  Walker will redshirt because he's not 175 pounds, and after that.....well, the cornerback shuffle in this class will sort itself out somehow.  Walker has a little bit of a disadvantage because he's not as fast as C.J. Moore, not a pure corner who played the position every day like Kelvin Rainey, probably not quite as athletic as Maurice Canady, and not as big as Wil Wahee.  Yes, the deck is stacked a little bit against him, but it'll be interesting to see who comes out of that big spin cycle on top.

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