Zykeivous Walker has made a decision which means a lot for his future. It now means something for the future of the defensive line room at a certain SEC school, too.
It also means that tiny Schley County has a much higher per-capita rate for Auburn Tigers. His decision was first reported by Chad Simmons of Rivals.com.
Walker’s decision now means that roughly one out of every 5,300 folks in Schley County winds up signing to play for Gus Malzahn at Auburn. That’s how small the county is that he comes from.
The 6-foot-4, 265-pound defensive end prospect shared news on Friday that he has committed to Auburn and plans to be a Tiger.
Georgia got his final official visit over the Texas A&M game weekend, but Auburn’s official from earlier this month was good enough for the program to hold on the 4-star strong-side DE prospect.
Walker becomes the 21st commitment for the Tigers. He is now the seventh player from the state of Georgia to commit to Auburn’s 2020 class.
The 4-star from Schley County (Ellaville, Ga.) ranks as the nation’s No. 9 strong-side DE prospect for the 2020 class. He is also the nation’s No. 159 overall prospect on the 247Sports Composite ratings for 2020.
The fact that he comes from the fifth-smallest county in the state of Georgia stands out. There are only 30 citizens per every square mile of that Southwest Georgia county.
Walker comes from a one-stoplight town but will also never forget where he comes from. He plays to honor the memory of his father Lewis David Walker III.
Zykeivous lost him when he was eight years old. When you watch him before a game, pay attention.
“Whenever I play, I always pray before I touch that field,” Walker said last year. “Before I go out, I always pray. Then after that, I don’t know if anyone is paying attention but whenever we walk out I always go to the opposite side of where we come out and I kneel and I pray.”
He will take that time to connect to the heavens. Then he looks up.
“I say I am going to do this today for my Dad,” Walker said. “Then when I go out on the field I try to do everything that might make him proud.”
Walker will graduate next month and enroll early in January. The Tigers beat out a final group of Alabama, Florida and Georgia for Walker’s commitment.
Check out my highlight – https://t.co/BdVykhD0c8
— Zykeivous Walker (@Zykeivous10) November 6, 2019
What this means for Georgia and its 2020 class
Walker had been trending to Georgia over the last year. In some ways, it was a bit of an upset that he even waited until the end of November to make his decision known. He told DawgNation back in April that it felt like the Bulldogs were even waiting on him to commit.
The irony here is that he now becomes the seventh Georgia prospect to commit to Auburn in this cycle. That number of in-state commitments for UGA in the 2020 class remains at four.
The Bulldogs are recruiting with a different scope these days amid its fifth class under Kirby Smart. Georgia signed just eight in-state prospects out of its 24 signees in the 2019 class.
Here’s how the Peach State crop of recruits has fared for each of Smart’s cycles:
- 2016: 17 of 21 signees
- 2017: 17 of 25 signees
- 2018: 15 of 24 signees
- 2019: eight of 24 signees
It stands within reason that the four current commitments for this class might be the only Peach State Bulldogs for this cycle at this time. Georgia’s top remaining targets for the 2020 class all hail from locations such as Arizona, California, Canada, Florida, Missouri, Nevada South Carolina and Texas, among others.
Walker’s decision means that Georgia only has commitments from two of the state’s top 25 players for this cycle. That’s 5-star OT Broderick Jones and 4-star OT Tate Ratledge, respectively.
Both Bulldogs are rated among the nation’s top 40 prospects for 2020. Columbia High senior DT Nazir Stackhouse, who rates as the state’s No. 26 overall prospect, is also committed to UGA.
It must also be noted this choice from Walker means the Bulldogs still have just three defensive line pledges in this class. The Bulldogs currently have commitments from Florida resident Jalen Carter (No. 6 overall DT) and Georgia resident Warren Brinson (No. 24 DT) from Florida’s IMG Academy. Stackhouse also rates as the No. 25 DT nationally for 2020.
That’s worth paying attention to for the rest of the cycle. Georgia is set to exhaust the eligibility of five defensive linemen after the 2019 season. That’s redshirt seniors Michael Barnett and Justin Young, plus fourth-year seniors Michail Carter, Tyler Clark and David Marshall, respectively.
Julian Rochester is now very likely to redshirt this fall and will be able to return for the 2020 season. But that roster will also be set to see Malik Herring run out of eligibility after the 2020 season, too.
Another thing to note after the Zykeivous Walker decision
Sedrick Van Pran still stands as Georgia’s last public commitment for the 2020 class. He did so back in August. It means that 105 days have passed since UGA got a commitment from a member of the 2020 class.
Does this mean that Georgia’s recruiting effort isn’t the same as it was in previous years under Smart? Hardly.
The Bulldogs still currently have 10 commitments for this cycle which rate among the nation’s top 150 players. Auburn now has just six of those elite prospects, including just three top 100 players.
Georgia’s class, which still ranks No. 5 nationally, also lists seven top 100 players. Van Pran is also just off that listing at No. 103 overall.