OU DT commit Walker answers challenge 

January, 29, 2013
videoGarland (Texas) South Garland High football coach Mark Cox has been on the job for nearly 30 years. He has seen and coached a lot of great players. He has also seen great talents be wasted.

Heading into the senior season of three-star defensive tackle Charles Walker, Cox had no idea where he would classify his talented player.

Charles Walker
Damon Sayles/ESPNThree-star defensive tackle Charles Walker said 'the light bulb came on' before his senior season.
Glimpses of brilliance, but not enough consistency. The physique of football player, but not the intensity or passion of one.

All the talent in the world but a body that was betraying him. But Cox never gave up on Walker. His persistence paid off this season, as Walker put it all together and committed to Oklahoma two weeks ago.

Walker missed the last five games of the 2011 season because of a concussion. Cox knows you don’t play around with a concussion, but he wasn’t sure about Walker’s dedication to want to get back out there.

It led to this exchange.

“I sat him down after the season and asked him, flat out, why are you playing football?” Cox said. “He sort of had his head down and meekly said he wanted to get a scholarship.

“I told him somebody his size that can run a 40 in 4.7 seconds is going to get a scholarship. Somebody will take a chance, but what about after that?”

What Cox was trying to ingrain into Walker’s head was getting a scholarship is nice, but if you don’t work hard, he was going to be right back in Garland and having to start back over.

For Walker, that talk didn’t just change his mind set about football. It changed his outlook on life.

“I guess you could say that’s when the light bulb came on for me,” Walker said. “I took a long hard look at myself. I had a coach who was supporting me the whole way, and it was time to go to work.”

Cox is convinced had Walker attended any summer camps that the idea of him being under the radar would have been preposterous. With his size and skill, schools were going to find out about him.

But they didn’t. Entering the latter half of the season, schools such as North Texas, Houston and New Mexico were Walker's top suitors.

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