BUFORD — Travon Walker feels that his relationship with Georgia coach Kirby Smart stands out. He said that the relationship with Smart is unlike any other form of communication he has with a recruiter.
“The one that stays in the most contact?” he started off. “That’s Coach Smart. Most of the time when he was on the road he made sure to stop to see me. He finds a way to get some time on the phone with me just about every week. Some coaches you really can’t get that from, but he finds time to make for me.”
Smart says the things that a lot of coaches want to make sure Walker knows about their respective programs, but he does not overdo it.
“He says he is going to recruit me as hard as he can but he says he wants me to enjoy the recruiting process while I can,” Walker said.
That sounds like a more significant storyline than what gloves he chose to wear at the Atlanta Opening regional on Sunday at Buford High School.
The Upson-Lee standout rates as the nation’s No. 3 defensive tackle prospect for 2019 and as the nation’s No. 33 player overall on the 247Sports composite rankings.
He has a top 4 (in no order) which features Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and South Carolina. Is there a fifth program? It sounds like Auburn, Florida, Michigan and Notre Dame are the programs trying to squeeze into that chase.
He’s “not sure” when he will make his final decision. Walker has told DawgNation in the past that he likely would try to make it ahead of his senior season to reduce distraction.
“I really love Georgia’s coaching staff,” he said. “I really like all my top 4 schools’ coaching staffs, but that [coaching staff] which really sticks out would have to be Georgia, Clemson and South Carolina. The whole coaching staff just comes together as one and really stays on me.”
Breaking down Travon Walker off the film
Walker is one of those “got-to-get” targets for the Bulldogs in the Class of 2019. He checks all the criteria the program looks for with its trench players and also adds another considerable layer or three of agility, quickness, length and the ability to play in space.
That’s why the question of a defensive tackle or defensive end in certain situations would apply when projecting his college fit.
“With Georgia’s scheme, they talk a lot about moving me into the ‘3’ (technique) a little bit,” Walker said. “But I mean, it really would not matter. I’m just trying to get on the field. I like everything.”
When we share updates on key prospects, the aim is to make it easy on the reader by providing links to their Hudl highlight films.
Walker’s case is different given he’s an all-state post for Upson-Lee, the two-time defending state basketball champions.
He’s good for about 1o points, 12 rebounds and another 3.5 blocks or so against a good opponent in a key playoff tussle. That’s why his overall upside needs to be framed by highlight films in both sports.
How do other schools fit in for Travon Walker?
Those other programs, such as Alabama, are peppering him with nuggets about an opportunity. The Crimson Tide didn’t sign any defensive tackles last year.
He says the relationship with that staff is pretty tight. They share texts just about every other day.
“Coach [Nick] Saban hits me up a lot,” Walker said.
He really feels that Clemson is coming along, too. He sees the Tigers as a program that now has staying power on the elite national stage.
“They have got some work to do but every school has some work to do,” Walker said. “Big things are coming.”
How does he feel about South Carolina?
“They are a pretty young team and they are athletic,” Walker said. “That’s pretty scary in the future. That’s going to play a big role as them being young. Especially at the D-line spot. They don’t have too many [guys] on the D-line.”
Walker has the fewest questions about Georgia in his top 4. That’s because he has visited that program more than any other school.
But he really has very few questions about any of those schools in that top group.
“I may take like two [official visits] this summer,” he said. “Maybe. I’m not sure yet.”
He tested well at the Atlanta Opening for his size and position. The 265-pound prospect told DawgNation he had a Sparq score right at 100.0 even in spite of the chilly conditions on Sunday at Buford.