Walker pulls shocker, flips to FSU


Two years ago, Florida coach Will Muschamp opened his National Signing Day press conference with this statement.

“Recruiting is all about developing relationships and trust,” he said.

That is no more evident than in the recruitment of DeMarcus Walker.

This time last week, the Jacksonville Sandalwood defensive end was scheduled to visit Florida following the Under Armour All-America Game. Many thought he would back off his long-standing commitment to Alabama and stay in-state.

And he did.

But not to play for the Gators.

Walker shocked the recruiting world with his commitment to Florida State. (Photo by Zach Abolverdi/The Gainesville Sun)

In a shocking turn of events, Walker flipped to Florida State late Monday night and will enroll early in Tallahassee today. The ESPN150 member never showed serious interest (if any) in the Noles, but that changed in late December. Jeremy Pruitt, his primary recruiter at Alabama, left the Tide to become Florida State’s defensive coordinator.

Pruitt is the reason Walker took a second look at UF — and privately began considering FSU.

“It helped the Gators a lot,” Walker said last Wednesday. “Football players go through so much (in college) and your parents are there. If I went to Alabama, I would be nine hours away and I can’t just drive to my parents. Talking to coach Pruitt every night, me and him bonded with each other. I had the best connection with him out of all the coaches that recruited me.”

In the closing seconds of Friday’s UA Game, Walker told The Sun he was still visiting Florida over the weekend. However, after pressure from the Alabama coaching staff — and a recruiting violation by assistant Lance Thomspon — he canceled his trip to Gainesville and appeared to be sticking with the Tide.

But Walker’s relationship with Pruitt ultimately won him over, according to his high school Adam Geis.

“He really got kind of nervous about going that far away from home. I think DeMarcus, in the end, felt more comfortable with Jeremy,” Geis told The Florida Times-Union.

With Walker now off the board, the Gators will turn their attention to other defensive ends and they have three targets taking officials this month. Auburn commit Tashawn Bower (Somerville, N.J./Immaculata) visits on Jan. 18, USC commit Jason Hatcher (Louisville, Ky./Trinity) visits on Jan. 25 and Elijah Daniel (Avon, Ind.) visits on Feb. 1.

UF offered Mississippi State DE commit Chris Jones (Houston, Miss.) on Saturday, but he’s solid with the home-state Bulldogs and will be hard for Florida to flip.


  1. Don’t see how the “Lance violation” hurt UF. It MAY have hurt Bammer(although it’s a “secondary violation”, and probably wouldn’t result in more than a wrist-slap).
    Never underestimate the intricacies of a teenage mind. What are the chances Pruitt is even at F$U for the next 3 years? Not great. Well, enjoy the ACC, Demarcus.

  2. People make decisions based on all kinds of reasons, some logical some not. I hope this works out for him but Pruitt won’t even be his position coach so I don’t know how much time he’s going to have to be Walker’s buddy.

  3. Zach, when coach talks about developing relationships and trust i recruiting, how come he has never gone after any kids from Texas. After being DC and HCIW at UT he would have developed lots of relationships with HS coaches and recruits in Texas. When he was hired here I thought we had a solid pipeline into Texas and yet not one kid from Texas has even sniffed coming to UF. What’s up with that?

  4. Walker was a prima donna from jump. Dude just wanted the attention of being recruited-had nothing to do with a headline that an editor mistakenly put out or any of that other crap. That tells me that his word is no good. Let him go to free shoes so he can get mauled every year by the Gator O-Line. Can’t keep giving your word that you’re coming to a school & pull the ol’ bait & switch at the last minute. And after Florida whups free shoes AGAIN in the Swamp this November I wouldn’t shake his hand if I were Muschamp or any other Gator players that he pledged his ‘allegiance’ to…if you’r not sure where you’re gonna go then don’t make a committment-just shut your piehole and commit on signing day & be done with it.

  5. GBBOLT, I disagree. Walker never “SAID” he was “committing” to us. If anyone is upset it should be the Bammers. THEY were the ones he mistakenly COMMITTED to. I knew at the time it was a mistake. I still feel like UF is really were he wanted to be but for whatever reason he must have a REALLY CLOSE bond with Pruitt considering he never showed any interest in that ACC school.
    I think Steve said it best, ‘What are the odds he’s even at FSU 3 years.’ from now. Walker says trust is the key. Where’s the trust when Pruitt sells him a bag of goods on Bama then jumps ship when a promotion comes available. “It’s a business kid.” but Gator fans should have no ill will toward a 17 yr old kid.

  6. Hard to really say things like “I hope Muschamp doesn’t shake his hand.” Seems to me like Walker did the same thing Dante Fowler or Matt Elam did. There’s a lot of people and forces pulling at these kids in different directions. If he doesn’t want to play here, it’s his loss. Go Gators!

  7. Totally agree with Sean. Kids flip, but if it’s a good reason for a kid to do that, then I get it. The ones who just to be prima donnas, that’s another matter.

    Walker obviously had a very close relationship with Pruitt and wanted to play for him. That said, he’s now never going to have the chance to play in full stadiums and face the best competition week in and week out at FSU and in the ACC.

    He’ll be relegated to mostly noon-time starts against pathetic competition like BC, Duke, UVA, Wake, and others in that league.

    Not to mention that FSU has a big drop-off next season and loses at least four games. Their defense will be pretty suspect at times IMO.

  8. What happened?! Kid seemed set for Bama or UF. Is a coach really worth following to a school that wasn’t considered late in the process? Was the high school coach up to something? Sometimes recruits pick schools for all the wrong reasons. I understand recruiting is about relationships and all but pick a place WHERE you feel comfortable not WHO you are close to because coaches come and go just like Pruitt left Bama.

  9. interesting all the hate for this kid, its a bummer he’s not comming but it cuts both ways…we just took the WR who did all the flipping and flopping and no one wrote about him being a prima dona? also Fowler went thru same thing last yr…he was all over the place before commiting for UF (thank gd!) but still these guys weren’t too different from this kid…that’s the way the ball bounces w/17-18yr olds…Go Gators

  10. The GOOD NEWS here is that he did not go to the EVIL EMPIRE of the WEST.
    We really need to focus our bad Recruiting Karma on the E.E. I’m a 50+ years Gator diehard and know that when the Gators when an SEC division or conference title, they’ve really won SOMETHING. The evil Wizard to the West has a model for excellence that has raised the bar for coaching in the SEC. Coach Muschamp gets it and is well on the road to claiming championships for the Gators. Richt and the ‘Ole Ball Coach’ are right there two. But, that’s good for the SEC and the Gators. It makes the Gators better and the best recruits want to play for the best teams in the best conference. GO GATORS FOREVER.

  11. Let’s keep this in perspective everybody. One guy does not make or break a recruiting class. This coaching staff has delivered a class thus far that is stellar, even if we don’t get another commit between now and Feb. 6. This kid has to go where his heart is and I’d rather him go somewhere else than take up a scholly and eventually leave because he’s not happy.

    It makes me wince when I read about a 17 year old kid getting hate tweets from ‘Bama fans (adults) because he flipped to FSU. I would like to think we are all above that kind of non-sense.

  12. Thanks GBBOLT! But it pains me to see this. Why can’t football take a cue from basketball & have an early signing period? This would more than eliminate all of this flip flopping crap & lock guys in to their so-called ‘committments’. Bet you one thing-it would slow down or stop altogether these guys giving verbals & whatnot. The NCAA needs to allow early signing-what’s the big deal? Start it for a minimum of 2-3 wks at the end of August/early September & then again in February. I know Fowler & Elam did it & I’m sure others will do the same. Just seems to make sense that this would alleviate anxiety amongst the young men, the coaches, and us fans. Looks like a win-win all the way around but wait-it’s the NCAA were talking about here. Those same idiots that have approved a ludicrous, stupid 4 team, no changes allowed playoff for 12 freekin’ years!! Should’ve been for 2 yrs., then change it to 8 teams after that. Way to roll the Irish, Tide. What a joke that game was. SEC rules. Go Gators!!!

  13. GaGator, Walker liked Pruitt at Bama and he followed him to FSU. That’s what happened.

    Disappointing, because it’s going to be interesting watching Pruitt take over a defense when he has ZERO esxperience at the college level as a DC, and has only been at the college level for two years at Bama.

    FSU’s defense is going to take a major nose dive next year.

  14. did all of you question d robinson’s “loyalty’ when he switched from clemson to uf ? do you care that your coach seems to be going after a LOT of commited players? we are gator fans,but let these players go where THEY want to go

  15. Agree with Gator Todd and Sean, These are kids and they have a difficult time making virtually a grown up decision. They show be allowed to change their minds, we don’t know all the facts of factors that goes in to each decision. Most of you that are bashing the kid would have been singing his praises if he had chosen the GATORS. He would have been doing the same thing that you are bashing him for right now, he just picked another team. He still left a school that he had committed to earlier. If we (GATORS) are not the beneficiaries then decommitting is a sin (hypcritical don’t you think)? GO GATORS!!!!

  16. Josh, I really hope Chandler Register get a shot at some school because you have been pushing him all recruiting season. I would think if he was as good as YOU think he is someone on the coaches staff or even another poster would have raised his name or something. But I don’t think just because you WANT to be a GATOR is the biggest qualification for a scholly. By the way, what qualifies a kid as a “THUG”? because all of the players we had at the SUGAR BOWL wanted to be a GATOR (at least at some point), so (and I dont know the kid) Chandler could be a “THUG” if you put out a blanket character qualifier as you did. I REALLY would like to know what makes a kid a “THUG” in your mind. GO GATORS!!!!

  17. What Gatormatic said and add the Pouncy twins… good when we flop them best wishes when they flop. It is called CLASS what all Gators should strive for.When it comes to my Gators I am still called crass; but am only 1 letter away.

  18. D. Walker’s startling commitment to FSU – ‘Something in the milk ain’t clean!’ Every kid second guesses their decision at some point; I can only imagine his will probably linger. We will get the right guy for us. POOR DISCIPLINE: I don’t buy the ‘thug’ talk that people throw out so quickly when describing undisciplined play. When watching the games with my young sons I make a point to call out undisciplined play EVERY TIME I see it, whether it’s a penalty, trash talking or overzealous individual celebrations! I also compare/contrast it to players and teams when they make great plays, or big hits and conduct themselves and show good sportsmanship. These kids we watch are still learning and many are doing what has been engraved/conditioned into them as ‘how you do it’ because they see so many others doing it that way. What they need to be taught is when you do something as violent as football, you should always respect your opponents for their courage to face you. THE FIX: In general, the media could help by airing more player/opponent interaction immediately after the games; especially the NFL where they stay on the field, talk, take pictures, exchange memorabilia, get one another’s autographs, etc. As far as our team, Muschamp simply needs to delegate the responsibility to the position coaches – money motivates! Get in their pockets (add/subtract) and you’ll get your desired outcome. How many times did we go backwards, out of scoring position, or kept the opponents offense drive going because of our undisciplined play? TOO MANY. Right now we’ve got a culture where our team leaders (some) are undisciplined. We’ve got to treat them or the infection spreads. STILL, these kids are far from thugs…thugs have ‘better things’ to do (in their minds) than to risk injury entertaining us while the university and locals makes all the money…nah, that ain’t THUG LIFE.

  19. @ TigerCatZeroZero, That was beautiful, too many people throw around the words “THUG” and “HERO” with out thinking of the true since of the word. Unbridalled emotion does not make a kid a “THUG”. I believe some of these same people that label these kids (unfairly) do SH.. that is far worst but they never see themselves as “THUGS” or worst. You have a very good post and I wish some of these “thug trowers” will get a chance to read AND absorb the message. GO GATORS!!!!

  20. What I meant by saying the Word Thug comes from constantly playing the game to mame or hurt someone & that is what I saw in the SB. BTW, why did no one in the media post the question to Muschamp. For example, “Hey coach, it was obivious to most that YOU had NO control of your TEAM, WHAT GIVES? Over 100 yds in STUPID penalities, and no accountability of having these players JERKED off the field for DUMB no control actions! As far as Chandler Register goes, I knew we needed a WR/Playmaker and I liked him since I have seen his film. Oh well, if the Gators do not want him, so be it. I will not mention his name again. But to recruit a 5’11 receiver makes ZERO sense to me & please spare me the Harvin argument as this new kid is NO Harvin. Therefore, the rest of you sound like a bunch of PC Liberals by trying to make excuses for STUPID OUT OF CONTROL performance. Not me, I call it like I see it!

  21. I agree with Josh, however, had we won no one would be talking about the behavior on the field. How many games did we win this year with at or around 10 penalties? I don’t have the stat, just throwing it out there.

    @Josh — I’m with you brother, but I don’t recall such visceral e-mails from you during our 11 and 1 regular season. If you did point out this matter after a hard fought win…my apologies in advance.

  22. Great Points @TCZZ and @Josh,
    As far as us recruiting a 5’8 or 5’10 receiver, Ike Hilliard, Jacquez Green, Riedel Anthony, and Travis McGriff off the top of my head all played Great at their height, and were around that size.
    It’s never been about the size of the gator in the fight,
    it’s always been about the size of fight in the gator.
    Most of our receivers now would pan out fine if they got some more fight in them.

  23. And don;t be surprised if we still sway Clark to our class too. He aint afraid of competition. Interesting too that there was an article here a few weeks ago about “UF losing out to Clemson in recruitins”, but Clemson lost Robsinson to Uf and their other big-time WR prospect to Tennessee!

  24. Hang it up gatornation players decommit from florida simply because muschamp doesnt stand a prayers chance in hailstorm in beating the tide and jimbo will handle him this year in the precious swamp fsu beat themselves last year plain to see just shut ur yaps and leave the recruits to thier own devices Go Noles Roll Tide