Elite junior DE Dante Walker on UGA: ‘It is a home feeling’
Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The budget for Tuesday calls for an update on Dante Walker, one of the state of Georgia’s surplus of 2019 blue-chip prospects.
RIVERDALE, Ga. — Good kid. Loves football. Not all caught up in this recruiting stuff. He still hangs out with the same people he always did. He never takes a play off.
When major Power 5 schools start extending offers to major prospects like Dante Walker, they watch the film and do their homework. The hope is that they find they have offered a player that several of those previous affirming statements apply to.
It is becoming a rarity when all of them do.
But that exact string of words applies to Walker. That’s how Riverdale coach Terry Herrod describes a player that the 247Sports composite ranks as the nation’s No. 97 overall prospect for 2019.
“He has handled all of this really well,” Herrod said. “He does not think of himself as an elite anything or an elite person because of all this recruiting. He’s just so very down-to-earth.”
Want to hear an interesting off-the-field story? Herrod has one for Walker.
“He doesn’t have his own cell phone,” Herrod said. “So he can’t get caught up in all that stuff. He doesn’t want to be all up in that social media stuff. He doesn’t have that cell phone. So all of that stuff on social media would just go to his mother.
“If anything, he just wants to focus on playing football, being a kid and having fun. The other stuff? He’s not worried about that. But I will tell you this: He is kind of old school in the sense I can see two or three schools that he is really really into. Those schools have offered him. He has been offered by everybody and he is respectful and polite to everybody but there are three schools that have kind of grabbed his imagination about college football.”
Georgia has offered Walker. The Bulldogs would be one of those.
The 6-foot-3, 228-pound prospect is part of an in-state surplus of blue chips for the 2019 class. The Bulldogs will need to sign talents like Walker in that cycle if they are to make a run at the nation’s No. 1 class in 2019.
“It is a home feeling,” Dante Walker said. “It is Georgia, man. You know? It feels like family when I am there. Everbody is family there. It feels like you would be well-taken care of if you went to school there.”
Dante Walker is a 4-star strongside DE prospect
There is quite a lot to report about Walker. The first element is that he comes from an athletic family. His mother, Trinetta Moore, excelled on the basketball court at Florida State.
The 6-foot-2 post pulled down double-doubles while her two sons, Isaiah and Dante, were still very young. She had them very early in life. That led to a very impressive story.
Here’s a passage: Being a mother, Moore’s responsibilities go well beyond that of the average college student. She has been blessed, however, with a loving and supportive family. While the boys stay with Trinetta during summers, they live in Atlanta with their grandmother during the school year. Still, she sees them as often as she can. Trinetta’s mother agreed to help raise the children as long as she was working to better herself and to ensure a solid future for herself and her family. Trinetta has done just that. She earned a bachelor’s degree in social sciences in August. Graduation day was pretty special for the entire family.
Remember the opening paragraphs to Walker’s story? That links up with what we just read about his mother’s career at Florida State.
Trinetta Moore was a team captain at FSU. She was very likely going to raise a son like Dante who would carry those values and handle himself in a certain way on and off the field.
“Being part of this program has taught me to be more responsible which is going to help me in my journey with my kids,” Moore said in that 2004 story. “I had a role here and after this, my main role will be being a mother. Being a team captain last year, I knew people looked up to me and I had to lead them and I feel like that is going to help me in the long run.”
Mississippi State offered Walker first.
“When I got my first offer I told my mom and I was happy,” Walker said. “My mom was happy but she was just normal and calm. Just like she always is.”
Those SEC West Bulldogs are still likely recruiting him as hard as anyone. Alabama also has offered. He even went to a camp in Tuscaloosa this summer.
But there is also an offer and a potential pairing with the in-state school to think about. Walker already has visited UGA for at least one game this year.
Walker has established a timeline for his decision with his mother.
“When I get to 12th grade, then I am going to make my decision and whatever decision that I do make she is going to be fine with it,” he said.
This is a young man who has all of his goals clearly in sight.
“I really want to go to school to be a computer engineer,” Walker said. “Whatever program is going to get me there, that’s what I want to choose. … I want to go into gaming [game programming] and coding. I want to go and work in Japan. Because Japan has a great gaming industry. I want to do that.”
He’s already thinking about game design and a concept through talks with his stepfather, who’s also an influence. Walker said his stepfather is a photographer who also adds a visual eye and an artistic side to those discussions.
Walker’s spark for that career path was established by playing “Minecraft” as a youth.
“I would see this block game that everybody was playing and it was a $30 million dollar game,” Walker said. “It was also so simple. I think the game I will want to do will one day will have to be simple, too.”
The potential fit for Georgia for Dante Walker
Defensive line coach Tray Scott is recruiting Walker for the Bulldogs. UGA sees him as a strongside defensive end. He would have his hand on the ground.
“He’s an up-tempo guy and is very funny,” Walker said of Scott. “He is cool and a father-figure kind of guy. He is always smiling. I think one of his best traits is he somehow has a knack for turning a negative element into a positive or finding some way to make things seem funny and make you laugh if he can.”
Florida State was his dream school growing up. But the Seminoles have yet to offer him. His recent offer listing includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Ole Miss and South Carolina.
Walker is a talent. He had 5 sacks in a single game earlier this season. Ohio State also just recently offered.
“Rodney Garner at Auburn told me that his first few steps off the ball were among the best he has ever seen,” Herrod said.
Herrod, his head coach at Riverdale, also said something that placed where Walker’s head has always been.
“He said the other day that, ‘Coach, none of these offers really mean anything right now. They don’t because I still have to keep playing’ and he said he still had another year,” Herrod said. “He told me he knew he had to keep doing what he was doing in order to keep those offers and make them mean something.”
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