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Wednesday, April 24, 2013
2014 PSU spotlight: DT Ricky Walker

By Josh Moyer

Over the next few months, NittanyNation will look closer at the 2014 recruits who claim offers from Penn State. Today we examine defensive tackle Ricky Walker, whom PSU offered last fall.

Vitals: DT Ricky Walker, Hampton (Va.) Bethel, 6-foot-2, 270 pounds

Offers: He's up to 14 right now, from as far north as Boston College and as far south as Georgia Tech. Some of his biggest offers include Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Numbers game: Walker started both ways, as a defensive tackle and left guard, and still managed to impress. In just 10 games, he finished with 70 tackles and 11 sacks. And, in the games he started, the offense averaged more than 30 points.

Memorable highlight: You can get a good sense of Walker's explosiveness and strength at the 1:02 mark in the above video. The quarterback bobbles the snap, picks it up, and Walker pushes the guard back so quickly that he ends up basically tripping over the quarterback just as he's trying to jump on the ball.

State of the position: It appears as if PSU will be taking just one defensive lineman in this class, and the staff's almost solely focusing on defensive tackles. There are some young DTs already in Penn State's lineup -- redshirt freshman Austin Johnson looks like a starter -- but good player in this class could come in and contribute right away. As of now, there will be five DTs on scholarship in 2014.

What has caught Penn State's eye: Larry Johnson told the DT he reminds the staff a lot of NFL prospect Jordan Hill, and he jumped on PSU's radar last spring. He wowed Johnson at a summer camp and became the first DT to receive a PSU offer. He comes from a football family, has a high football IQ and has a high motor. He's also a versatile player, which is always a plus with the Nittany Lions.

What are Penn State's chances? Pretty good right now. Although Walker said he won't name a top five for a while, it would be a big surprise if the Nittany Lions didn't make the cut. Tennessee could make for some strong competition if it offers, and Virginia Tech is also in the hunt. He doesn't plan to commit anywhere anytime soon, however, and another DT could choose to grab that scholarship offer if Walker waits too long.

Quotables: "Growing up, I always liked Penn State. When I was younger, I went to a game and just the history -- Joe Paterno, I really like him -- and now to be able to be a recruit, it's just great. I'm learning more about the school, the coaches and coach [Larry] Johnson, and that's definitely a plus."