- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
HOUSTON -- As a young boy, Hardreck Walker had no desire to play football. He didn't like practices. He even quit.
But his mother wasn't having it. And now, the Houston Westfield defensive tackle and 2013 Texas A&M commitment is grateful for her insistence.
"She started me at 4," Walker said of his mother, Morgan Hall. "I didn't want to play football. She started me in flag football. I quit twice."
There's an old adage that says a mother knows best, and in Walker's case, it was true.
"She pushed me into it, but after about a year I got into it and I loved it and have enjoyed football ever since," Walker said.
The 6-foot-2, 281-pound Walker is the 44th-ranked player at his position nationally and one of four defensive tackle commitments in the Aggies' 2013 class.
This season has gone well for Walker and his Westfield teammates. The Mustangs are 3-0 and are coming off their first district win of the season, 40-19 triumph over Spring (Texas) Klein Collins. They resume their district slate on Friday against Spring (Texas) Klein.
Walker has been working on improving certain aspects of his game.
"Hands on contact," Walker said was his point of emphasis. "I bring hands, but I tend to bring them a little late. I'm working on shooting them a little faster."
The goal he set for himself prior to this season was to be a constant, consistent force.
"Getting in the backfield every play," Walker said. "Be a constant factor on the quarterback's mind. Just in the back of his mind, him looking for me so he's not reading receivers."
Walker has even had the opportunity to line up on offense in the Mustangs' goal-line packages, but has been used primarily as a blocker thus far. He would love an opportunity to run the football, but is happy blocking too.
"It's pretty fun getting the chance because when I was a young guy, I kind of wanted to be an O-lineman," he said. "And be able to put my hands on a (defensive player) and put them on the ground is pretty fun."
He was also one of the 20 A&M commitments that visited Kyle Field for Texas A&M's season opener against Florida. It was the first A&M game he has attended since his recruitment process began.
"It was crazy. I enjoyed it though," Walker said. "Great environment. Students really got into it. They have a lot of chants. I didn't know they had so many chants."
With eyes on a state title for his team and improvement on the field for himself, things are going well for Walker. With Texas A&M in the distance, his future his bright. And he has his mom to thank.
"She'll tell you to this day that she's the reason I'm playing football," he said with a smile. "And she is. I'm glad she did it. I'm real thankful."
3dSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
4dEdward Aschoff and Greg Ostendorf