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Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Q&A: Coach of OU commit Charles Walker

By Bob Przybylo

Garland (Texas) South Garland coach Mark Cox never worried about defensive tackle Charles Walker getting an opportunity.

His logic was some school somewhere was going to take a chance on a 6-foot-4, 280-pound defender that can run a 4.7 in the 40-yard dash.

Cox was right and Cox doesn’t fault any school for not initially looking in Walker’s direction. He had to earn it.

Walker did his senior season, and Oklahoma was there ready to pounce. Walker committed last week after being offered in December.

Cox spoke to SoonerNation about how Walker developed into one of the better under-the-radar prospects in the nation.

SoonerNation: When did you first realize Walker had the potential to be something special?

Mark Cox: My first day on campus. I just finished my second season here. When I first some him, he was playing basketball and everybody was telling me what a tremendous talent he was. But going into his senior season, he only had 10 games under his belt because of all the injuries.

SN: His junior season was marred by the concussion. Was there a point where maybe you thought Walker just wasn’t cut out to be a top player?

Cox: His work ethic and commitment were questions I really had. When recruiters came in, I told him I’m not going to tell these recruiters you’re something you’re not. He needed to mature. He did. I’m happy to put my name on him now.

SN: What changed with Charles this season?

Cox: I think you know a lot of this is about the relationships between players and coaches. We connected after his junior season. He started listening. I earned his trust and got to know him as a person, first, and as a player later.

SN: So now he’s turning the corner, but what made him such a better player this season compared to the rest of his career?

Cox: We knew he had Division I ability, but he needed to have a Division I mentality. He had to learn to be big and physical. He had to learn it’s OK to be big and physical. If he’s a two-star, I would love to see what those five-star kids look like. His highlights are as good as anybody’s.

SN: When did the Sooners enter the picture?

Cox: OU has been there from the very beginning. I mean the very beginning, tracking him since his sophomore year. We just didn’t know if Charles was ever going to get that offer from OU. But his senior year changed everything. His character is not a problem. He’s a solid kid whose upside is still in front of him.

SN: Why should OU fans be excited about Charles coming to campus?

Cox: Because he’s healthy and showing what he can do. The competition level at OU is going to bring something else out of Charles. And if it brings out a side that we here at South Garland believe it brings out, it’s going to be fun to watch.