Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Oklahoma Sooners [Print without images]

Monday, June 18, 2012
Walker 'so happy' to receive Sooners offer

By Bob Przybylo

Two months ago defensive tackle Hardreck Walker (Houston/Westfield) was close to committing to Texas A&M. But when he saw how many college coaches were visiting spring practices at his high school, Walker talked with his mother and decided he wanted to wait.

Then Michigan offered. And then he impressed at Texas’ camp last weekend.

And on Monday night, a new wrinkle was added as Oklahoma has officially joined the Walker sweepstakes.

Hardreck Walker
Defensive tackle Hardreck Walker said he was 'so happy' to receive an offer from the Sooners.
This offer, though, is a little bit different.

“This changes a lot of things,” Walker said. “When I think about the last two months, I actually cannot believe it right now.”

Walker, who is 6-foot-2 and 281 pounds and is ranked No. 40 at defensive tackle, has been a favorite of OU defensive tackles coach Jackie Shipp for a long time. Shipp told Walker he wanted to offer him after Walker’s visit to OU’s junior day in February.

It wasn’t that defensive coordinator Mike Stoops butted heads with Shipp about the offer, but Stoops never got a chance to see Walker perform.

That changed last Tuesday at OU’s satellite camp in Houston. Walker was one of three defensive tackles in attendance, which gave him ample time with Shipp and Stoops.

“That camp was pretty good. I got a lot of one-on-one time, and I got to see him and how he works,” Walker said. “Both of them are really good coaches.

“Coach Shipp said that Coach Stoops really liked how I worked last week and how I moved and that they wanted to offer me.”

Walker had OU in his early favorites in March but that was back when he didn’t have the amount of offers he has now. As much as he wanted to keep the Sooners near the top of his list, it became increasingly difficult without an official offer.

Those fears are gone now.

“I’m so happy right now,” Walker said. “I had to wait to call you back because I had to do a little dance.”

Walker had to fight back his emotions because as much as he is pumped about OU’s offer, he still wants to wait.

Walker said he intends to take his official visits in the fall to five universities that are too far away to drive to campus. Northwestern and Michigan are among those schools he wants to visit, tough things can change.

Walker impressed at Texas’ one-day camp last week but didn’t receive an offer.

“They said they liked me but told me they’re going to come and evaluate me a few games into the season,” Walker said. “With the other offers I have, I know I have other options. We’ll see what happens.”

Walker is the second defensive tackle from Texas offered by OU. The Sooners have also offered Dallas Kimball’s Justin Manning. Walker said he doesn’t think he will attend any more camps this summer.