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Sunday, January 13, 2013
OU shores up defensive line with Walker

By Brandon Chatmon

Oklahoma continues to add bodies at the defensive tackle position.

Defensive tackle Charles Walker (Garland, Texas/South Garland) picked the Sooners over North Texas, Houston, New Mexico and others on Saturday. He should provide added depth to the position as OU looks to improve its defensive interior in 2013.

The Sooners began December with zero commitments at defensive tackle and have secured three commitments in the past six weeks, including junior college standout Quincy Russell (Athens, Texas/Trinity Valley).

While none of the names are eye-popping, Russell appears to be the best prepared to play in 2013. Walker and Kerrick Huggins (Dallas/Skyline), however, each have traits that could make them recruiting gems in the future. OU has secured much needed depth while finding players with long-term upside along the interior.

Walker has plenty of talent but injury concerns -- he just had labrum surgery -- could have scared some programs off. Regardless, the key for Walker and Huggins will be development once they arrive in Norman. Both players have unique physical traits, but those skills mean nothing if they cannot translate them into assets that allow them to create mismatches up front.

Walker, at 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds, brings unique athleticism for a player his size, but he is relatively raw. Don’t expect an immediate impact from the recent commitment but his physical traits could allow him to emerge as a difference maker during his time in crimson and cream.

The senior defensive tackle is a example of OU’s philosophy of waiting until after a player’s senior season to further evaluate and offer. But, that philosophy will only pay off if OU develops Walker and Huggins into difference makers in the interior.

Make no mistake the Sooners are taking a chance with their wait-and-see approach along the defensive line and other positions. It could pay major dividends. Or it could lead to regrets and disappointment. On and off the field.