Walker picks Alabama, but this one is far from over

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Jacksonville Sandalwood defensive end DeMarcus Walker committed to Alabama during ESPNU’s first RecruitingNation show of the season on Friday.

To many this came as no surprise, as there was nothing but Tide talk taking place on Thursday and some said he has been a silent verbal since A-Day.

While I can’t say or speculate what Walker did during his trips to Tuscaloosa, here’s what I know in regards to Florida.

On Walker’s unofficial visit to Gainesville on June 29, Muschamp & Co. earned his trust and he in turn told them he was 95 percent sure he wanted to be a Gator.

According to several of the Florida commits that were at The Opening with Walker, they decided to call him ‘Roll Tide’ all weekend. Not fond of the nickname, Walker called coach Muschamp in front of the commits, put him on speaker phone and asked him to repeat what he said to the coaches during his visit.

From that point until this past Thursday, Walker continuously told those commits he was UF bound, which is why I was so confident in saying he would join the class.

As I mentioned Wednesday’s edition of Zach’s Mail Stack, Walker could have just been telling them what they wanted to hear all along (ala Nelson Agholor). Or maybe he changed his mind at the last minute. I’m not sure what his thought process was.

But when a recruit tells their peers where they’re going, more times than not it’s legit. And I know that when Walker informed a few of my sources of his destination on Thursday, it came as a shock because he had been firm about coming to Florida for almost two months.

Walker is still going to officially visit UF this fall and if the coaches stay on him, there’s a good chance he could flip. Regardless of what Walker says about other schools such as Auburn, my sources tell me he has made it clear to them that his decision will come down to Alabama and Florida.

In my eyes, Walker’s ‘commitment’ Friday was more like him naming the Tide his leader. Watch this video of his announcement and I think you would agree.

And as much as missing out on Walker would hurt the Gators, it won’t kill them. In the last recruiting cycle they signed strongside defensive ends Quinteze Williams and five-star Jonathan Bullard, who is already making noise as a freshman and will assume the starting job next year if Dominique Easley enters the NFL Draft.

The Gators also have Antonio Riles (Lawrenceville, Ga./Archer) committed for 2013, and although he isn’t as talented as Walker at this stage, he has a more impressive frame and his skill-set is very similar. With Dade City Pasco defensive lineman Joey Ive (who enrolls early and might also play strongside) on board as well, UF should be fine at the position for 2013.

55 COMMENTS

  1. I thought we had a shot back in June when WM told him “…I’ll take care of you”. As time marched on though, it seemed his heart was in Tuscaloosa. Other than a blip here and there – it smelled like Bama all the way.

  2. WM has done a decent job in recruiting BUT to be top-tier not just an after thought as we are now, WM MUST WIN on the field. All these opinions about recruiting (including mine) are just filler. We are not really close to the situation. Obviously some kids like to ‘jack’ the local recruiting guy. It is done everywhere. The number is actually TWO. As in two seasons. Win or head for the door. If WM cannot WIN BIG in two seasons it is time for UF to, once again, get serious about its football program. Hey, Imposter EMK jump in if you dare to!!

  3. SORRY but I am upset at certain aspects of what has happened to UF when it comes to recruiting. IT IS THIS!! When UF ‘targets’ a kid from North Florida UF should get that kid almost always. We’ll loss a few to FSU but that should be rare on guys we really want. We should not be losing recruits to So. Cal. Southern California for goodness sakes!! To say nothing about ‘Bama and Georgia. In a position of need we lose top OL recruits to Georgia two years running. Win NOWis a must if we expect to compete against the SEC heavy weights. And, guys say what you will, we, the UF, are no longer a heavy weight in the SEC. What do you think EMK Imposter??!!

  4. EMK, recruiting is far from what it used to be nd so is the college landscape. Recruits nd colleges have better exposure due to social networking. To say it is win or go home for WM because we lost a recruiting battle to the defending national champion who by the way recruits well every year is down right idiotic. We were top five last year and still have a chance to have atop three to five class this year. I try not to respond to your post because they obviouly are never really well thought out and quite frankly baseless. Its ok for you to not agree withthe direction of the florida program but if you are goin to talk crap at least be able to back it up with legitimate facts. All florida schools have and will continue to loose battles as long. Its just the nature of the beast in college football. Other schools have had success to sell. No reason to pout about loosing a kid to an sec school or usc out west. If there was one school that I would not loose any sleep over after a recruiting battle it would be Bama. They certaintly have a resume to sell. Stop whining ya big baby!

  5. Guys…… Florida can only take so many players per year. Its called scholarship limits. We cant get them all. I would rather somebody else get them instead of our two most hated rivals in the history of the program. I think all too often we panic everytime something doesnt go our way. It is called spoiled. Florida will be fine at that position. It was not a position of need. Have you forgotten who we have recruited for the buck position the last three years. Powell, Bullard,Fowler who were all five stars, and Cox and Williams were highly ranked as well. Guess what? They are all still on campus. Florida will be ok, but I worry about all this anxiety over nothing. Geesh!! GO GATORS!!!

  6. By the way… Our entire starting defensive line is all five stars and you are complaining about a four star player who wasnt even top three at his position. If he flips to us great, but I aint loosing any sleep over him.

  7. Gatorbread: It may be a good idea not to attempt to respond to my posts or anyone elses until you develop a rudimentally ability to understand the English language. GATORBREAD: SHOW ME WHERE I WROTE THAT WM should (as you so poetically wrote, ‘go home’ because —we lost a recruting—etc.’) How do you function on a daily basis? A point is eventually reached when inarticulate, rambling incohenrent comments are no long funny but rather sad. I am indeed ‘sad’ for you. Otherwise, best wishes, your good friend!!

  8. gatorbread- this was not a run of the mill 4 star recruit – this was huge. No, DL is not our greatest area of need, but to go toe to toe with Bama on a player of his caliber in our back yard – don’t kid your self – this was one recruiting war we needed to win. This kid is the real deal, high character, strong work ethic and great parents. He will be an AA by his Junior year. This shouldn’t have happened.

  9. Scooterp. I didnt say he wasnt good and I dont see us loosing to Bama on a single recruit HUGE. There was not one recruiting service that had him ranked any higher than four stars and most think he is more suited as a dt if not a strongside de.This was happening when we had Tebow. Thats why UM broafened our recruiting bases to places like Carolina and such. Us flipping Fowler was Huge. Us getting Kevin Taylor over… Guess who… Bama was huge. Florida football is headed in the right direction with players we have. Once you see our defense this year all will be forgotten. Be encouraged my friend. You have reason to be. GO GATORS!!!

  10. scooterp: Good point!! It is easy to compliment another poster when both are on the same page. But I like (and agree) with what you wrote b/c a) this was a huge loss of someone who was a target on an area of need. b) UF MUST get most of those in North Florida who are targeted, c) this situation which is not acceptable but d) can be fixed by WINNING, e) I want WM to be successful but he must produce not with Rivals’ but @ the elite in the SEC, f) I need to be sold and I hope he does it, Big-Time!!

  11. EMK: I like how realistic you try to be most of the time and that we as a fan base need to have more realistic goals for the current team. I truly do not think that we are far off from our goals though. After Spurrier left we had our down years but all it takes is getting the “right” players into the system. ex. Leak, Tebow, Harvin for the whole program to turn around. I agree that missing out on Walker is a huge deal but I think that as @gatorbread said getting Kelvin Taylor in a recruiting war with Alabama was a bigger victory. Being a FL boy and a major legacy I think that a signing like that defines the class more than a Walker signing would have been for us.

  12. They get these guys because they are Bama, the premier program in the country at this point. We have looked like crap the last 2 years, what do you expect? Based on the records, I think we are doing as well as can be expected.

  13. I thought he was going to commit to Bama after he spent that week with them, living like a player everyday with them and talking about how he knows everyone’s name on the team. Rooming with the guy he would be rooming with if he committed. Talking it up about having the greatest time. I knew better but Zach convinced me otherwise with what he was hearing. I said it then and I’ll say it again, congrats to Saban. You out recruited us for and instate guy again. I tip my hat and move on to more important things. Lets not loose the top OL in our state to UGA three years in a row. I hope we can make up ground and close the deal with Tunsil and Harris. We are fine everywhere else.

  14. Gatorbread: You are CORRECT. It was MY MISTAKE. The OL and WR are actual areas of need not the defense generally as I suggested. My mistake!! CASH: It was good to read your post. You are probably more correct than I. But it still ‘frosts’ me when a kid geograpically close to UF goes elsewhere. As I wrote that should sledom if ever happen if we really want the kid. GATORIN(where ever you are): I have never been critical of those who simply disagree with me, only those who appear to be unable to read or comprehend basic English or those such Gatorbread who, at time, re-invent what is actually posted.

  15. wE NEED A COUPLE OF WINS AGAINST LSU, AUBURN, ALABAMA AND GEORGIA. IF WE GET THOSE VICTORIES, THEN I THINK WE WILL START GETTING THESE YOUNG GUYS TO SIGN WITH US. I THINK THE PAST FEW YEARS WE’RE ON A LOSING STREAK WITH THOSE TEAMS.

  16. Didn’t realize it was February already. Time flies.
    This is far from over. Just watch the video of his commitment. He’s still taking his trips. Muschamp generally doesn’t like his commits to take officials if he feels they’re wavering IMO.
    A lot can change in 6 months. Especially if we win on the field.
    No doubt the other Jax commits will stay in his ear.

  17. Just wondering on a rainy Saturday: OL-defined as an area of need by WM. And we have: Cameron Dillard, received offers from Bowling Green, Buffelo, Central Mich, Eastern Michigan (football powers, all). No offers from Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State. Just wondering!!

  18. Just Wondering (Part 2): Octavious Jackson OL, was heavily recruited by Marshall, Middle Tennessee State, South Alabama. Not so much by Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, FSU, LSU. A position of need and number of commits = Two (2). Just wondering!!

  19. There has to be some dirty deeds going on, for Bamer, Auburn, Clemson and Georgi to continuously get our top talent! We get very few from their backyard! Why? Where would you rather go to school, Florida or Alabama? All things being equal, a kid would pick Florida. We have beaches, plenty of sunshine and lots of pretty girls! Bamer has goat-roping events, dirty looking rivers and lakes and well, not much else! We all know the Trent Richardson story. I assure you, these kids are being given something to walk across that state line. It’s going to happen, once in a while; but, it shouldn’t happen with the regularity it has over the past several years. Some of the schools learned how to use girls, as a lure. Lane Kiffin has mastered that trick. It’s probably what the parents get out of it, in most cases. I have seen some local families mysteriously prosper, shortly after signing day and it doesn’t take a rocket Scientist to figure it out! Hopefully, UF will stay clean, because it will catch up with the others and the new penalties are going to be brutal!

  20. It all comes down to eye wash and facilities in many cases. Indoor practice facilities and dorm rooms sway 17 year old kids. Also, it comes down to relationships and stability of coaching staffs. This is the 3rd year in a row we have had a change in our recruiting coordinator. This is an essential/critical role at most college programs and we don’t have a Recruiting Coordinator at the present time. This hurts us tremendously, despite what Muschamp states publicly. Auburn, UGA, Bama, FSU and Clemson have some of the best recruiters in the business. They have been entrenched in the SE for many years. We have had 4 offensive coordinators in 4 years, 3 defensive coordinators in 4 years, changes in recruiting coordinator every year, we have a grad asst ex-QB as our WR coach and no recruiting coordinator at the present time. We also have NFL coaches like Quinn without recruiting experience, other coaches that had no relationships with HS coaches in Florida until 2 years ago, and Bryant Young who has NFL pedigree, but who OH at FSU can recruit circles around. Relationship building takes time, but other staffs have much better recruiters than we do (other than perhaps Durkin).

  21. INGATORSWETRUST is ‘spot-on’ in what is written and in the opinions and conclusions expressed. It will be equally interesting to see how many of the Real Gators will handle this inconvenient bit of REALITY. The poor guy will probably get trashed for his opinions. After all, no differences of opinion are permitted by some who post here!

  22. Trying to catch up here, I read about two-thirds of the post but I’m just throwing my opinion in. This kid would have been good insurance on this team, ad I believe that’s what he will be at Bama. Not the he would not have been a starter, because I’m sure he has the talent. But we have great players in the position that he plays and good reserves. I fully expected him to chose Bama, and that may be a good choice for him. I see the coaching staff leaving the door open, and if like Zach says they will not seek to fill another spot in that position if he is truely a Roll-Tide, seek someone of need. Sure he would have been great to have but he’s gone in my opinion. Because if you are from Jacksonville FL. at Sandalwood High school and all this stuff about putting Muschamp on speaker and still VERBALLY opted for BAMA on NATIONAL television, I would feel like he pissed in my wheaties. I would move on and STOP rubbing his balls, I know that sounds a bit raw but let him go he made his choice now let him live with it. HE MADE HIS CHOICE, why talk about NSD as if we need a miracle to happen so we can move on as a program (not hardly), MOVE ON!!! GO GATORS!!!!

  23. ‘—this one is far from over’. Zach Abolverdi; Walker ‘still plans to take all five of his official visits to Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Tennessee and USC’. ‘They (Alabama) are just putting guys in the NFL and that’s my dream’. DeMarcus Walker, #3 DE in USA. Sometime soon the Administration must get serious about the football program and the need to return that program to the top-tier of the SEC. A ‘coach-in-waiting’ for a 5-7 Texas team may not be what is needed for UF once one of the best programs in the country!!

  24. I never thought I’d see the day I agree with EMK, but he’s right about winning. You have to win on the field to win off the field. With all due respect to these kids, they have memories like gold fish. They also only care about two things: playing time and winning. We couldn’t offer this kid either. I think you guys need a reminder of what it’s like to be 17. They can’t remember the last time UF played in an SEC title game. These kids can’t remember a time the SECE was stronger than the West. They certainly can’t remember a time eons ago when Saban coached at LSU. It’s all ancient history, and almost all of it is completely irrelevant. To these kids, a long time ago was three years when they started playing high school football. And to their credit, all Alabama has done over the past three years is win. The fact that WM has recruited at such a high level despite having a horrible couple of years means he’s doing something right. Lets see what happens on the field. If we’re successful, I guarantee our luck will change.

  25. ‘—this one is far from over’. Zach Abolverdi; Walker ‘still plans to take all five of his official visits to Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Tennessee and USC’. ‘They (Alabama) are just putting guys in the NFL and that’s my dream’. DeMarcus Walker, #3 DE in USA. Sometime soon the Administration must get serious about the football program and the need to return that program to the top-tier of the SEC. A ‘coach-in-waiting’ for a 5-7 Texas team may not be what is needed for UF once one of the best programs in the country!! by EMK
    ————————————————————-

    This is where I disagree with you. The university does not exist to serve the football team. Things the university should be “serious” about are job placement, graduation rates, research, and serving the community. Kicking Sabans @ss is an ancillary benefit.

  26. Mattincolorado: A great university is capable of being multidimentional. A great university is capable of serving a range of community needs and interests. I think of universities such as Stanford and Cal-Berkeley. In the SEC, Vanderbilt is an example. The University of Forida is capable of being such a university. Although it is not a SEC-Football factory ,the hiring of Head Coach Franklin and an upgrading of its facilities shows that it is serious about its program. QUESTION: How serious was AD Foley when he hired a ‘coach-in-waiting’ with no head coaching experience from a 5-7 team to lead the UF program? I would submit the hire reflected more on the Foley ego than on sound hiring judgment.

  27. I hope we just leave the guy alone. I hate the practice of flipping players anyways. I didn’t like it when Muschamp kept going after Fowler, the same way I didn’t like when FSU stole Greg Reid. Just tell the kid “…….hey, I respect your decision. You need to follow your heart on this, but if you change your mind and we have a spot open, we would love to have you”. Then walk away. Its not like Bama is a crappy program and Saban doesn’t now how to develop NFL talent. It always sounded like this kid was impressed with Saban – this isn’t a surprise. If he wants to go there, then who are we to say they cheated or he made a bad c hoice. Some of you need grow up.

  28. scooterp, I’m with you on this one between my last post and your most recent one I believe we have said the same thing . The kid made a decision, let it go don’t start dreaming about a NSD switch or surprise MOVE ON.

    • RealityBites,

      I do not block posts. Sometimes the word press system randomly selects comments that need to be “approved” before they appear, but I can’t recall any of yours being chosen recently. Check back on all the blogs you recall commenting on and your posts are there.

  29. Im not sure where the author gets the feeling this kid isnt as committed as any of the other kids out there are. Im not saying he wont end up changing his mind but when asked how confident he was that he was going to stick with Alabama, he said “Im very confident”. Thats as concrete as you can get from these recruits these days.

  30. What one sees here, whether it is directly or indirectly, related to recruiting are a large number of die-hard UF football fans in severe denial. Anyone who does not agree with these people are—–(you fill in the blank); I will not wallow in that ignorance. Directly on recruiting: It amazes how many have firm opinion based complete on a complete lack of information. Serious information comes generally from two places: (1) the kid, or (2) the coaching staff. The kid sometimes wants to play games with the ‘expert’ journalist and the coaching staff should be more interesting in not violating NCAA recruiting rules. Ignorance never seems to prevent one from having a definite opinion!!

  31. I don’t think it’s necessary for anyone on here to judge anyone else’s level of fandom, if there is such a word, but it sure does disappoint me to read so many posts that imply the Gators must ‘show’ them something, or that they must be ‘won over’ in some fashion in order to support the team.
    You’re either a Gator fan, or you aren’t. It’s that simple.
    The coach is named Will Muschamp, whether you think he ought to be or not. The kids that sign with Will Muschamp do so because they want to be Gators, whether we think they deserve to be, or not. If a kid wants to be a Gator, that’s good enough for me. If he’d rather be a ‘nole or a dawg, well, I don’t understand that, but it’s his life. More power to them.
    Will Muschamp can not, nor should we expect him to, sign every great player in Florida regardless of the proximity of that recruit to Gainesville.
    Being realistic does not mean that you have to criticize everything with which you disagree, nor does it mean that you should wear rose colored glasses and praise everything that happens on or with the football team despite their failures.
    Whether it’s ‘realistic’ or not I, for one, am a Gator fan no matter what: no matter their record, no matter how many stars this year’s recruiting class gets, no matter no matter. I’m not a PollyAnna, I’m just a Gator fan, no matter what. I wish there were more people like me out there in the Swamp on Saturday who are going to pull for the Gators no matter what: No booing when the offense goes 3-and-out; no grumbling when the defense gives up a touchdown; no cussing and swearing when a receiver drops a ball. None of that stupidity and entitlement. Just a stadium full of Gator fans who love the team no matter what. Through all kinds of weather and all of that. Some folks call people like me naive and old fashioned, out of touch, senile, unrealistic; but that’s fine with people like me, because we don’t give a flat fart what other people think. We’re just Gator fans. No matter what.
    Go Gators!

  32. It really entertains me when the Gator faithful claim that if Bama out-recruits WM & Co, then they MUST be cheating. Seriously? As long as WM gets in the media with that chin sticking out, and his mouth open spewing macho garbage, much like he did when he was at AU, almost every SEC school will outrecruit UF…a fact.