ATHENS — Quay Walker’s hat toss will live forever in National Signing Day history, a viral moment caught on video.
Walker, now a sophomore inside linebacker at Georgia, would just as soon put that fateful moment of Feb. 7, 2018 behind him.
“To be honest with you, I hate talking about it,” said Walker, who was a consensus Top 100 prospect from Crisp County High School in Cordele. “But I know it’s going to be something that’s brought up the rest of my life, just about.
“Looking back on it, I think it was very immature of me doing that, but at the same time, I’m just a kid from a small town that was just happy to be where I was,” Walker said at Tuesday’s media availability. “Of course a lot of people thought I was going to Tennessee, but I still have respect for Coach (Jeremy) Pruitt and for the University of Tennessee.”
Walker hopes to be on the field when the Bulldogs play the Vols in Knoxville on Oct. 5. The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder is still battling for playing time at inside linebacker.
“Quay has come a long way, but Quay’s got a long ways to go,” Coach Kirby Smart said on Tuesday. “He played like an outside backer in high school, and when you go inside it changes your world, because you go from seeing one thing, to seeing everything and you’ve got five linemen that come at you, and things are going sideways, and he struggled some last year, he got frustrated.
“Then this year, it’s amazing how far he’s come with understanding our defense, and being able to pick things up. He’s a really good blitzer. The sky is the limit for him because he’s athletic and big, and he’s come so far, but he has to decide that he wants to be great and work hard every day to put himself in a special category.”
Walker was getting first-team repetitions in Tuesday’s practice, likely in anticipation of what’s expected to be a lopsided game with FCS Murray State at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Sanford Stadium.
Walker saw notable playing time in the 30-6 win at Vanderbilt last Saturday, making four tackles and earning praise from Smart.
“It felt so good, being able to play for the University of Georgia and get out there to do what I was recruited to do,” Walker said.
“Coming in, it was frustrating for me because I had to play a role that I wasn’t really used to, but it felt real good to be out there with my brothers.”