All-American LB Jalon Walker is set to have several breakups today. That’s how he has described how hard his college decision was going to be in the past.
He told DawgNation it would feel like breaking up with a few girlfriends when he set the date earlier this year.
It will mean severing the recruiting relationship with some Miss America programs. His final six included the likes of Auburn, Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, North Carolina and Ohio State.
Walker plans to make those breakups official at approximately 2:15 PM today from a church in his community in North Carolina. He ranks as the nation’s No. 4 OLB prospect for 2022 on the 247Sports Composite ratings.
The nation’s No. 50 overall prospect for 2022 could add to the juice for Georgia from the commitment of 5-star ATH Malaki Starks on Thursday. Or it could be a stall on the recruiting trail for a priority prospect.
The 6-foot-2.5, 225-pound LB is playing his junior season this spring in North Carolina. That’s because of the global pandemic wiping out the football season last fall in that state.
This is a very contested recruitment. North Carolina extended his first offer. He has a lot of friends from his Salisbury High School community at UNC.
Clemson has been recruiting him for four years. He was a participant at three straight Clemson camps during his rise as a football prospect. He also has a lot of relationships at that school, too.
Auburn, Alabama and Ohio State were also strongly considered. It is hard to find a stronger final six with the likes of those three fine programs also in the running.
Walker told DawgNation what a genuine honor it was to get the chance to speak to a legend like Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban during this recruitment.
The Bulldogs were also one of the three independent self-guided recruiting trips he got to take last season. He saw Clemson face Notre Dame in Charlotte for the ACC championship game. Walker was also in the stands as purely a fan for when North Carolina hosted Notre Dame in Chapel Hill.
The Under Armour All-American was set to visit UGA for the Vanderbilt game. When that game was canceled, he still took the trip to Athens with his family.
Walker told Dawgnation that his decision came to him last week. What did it come down to?
“A big deal for me was relationships for me and my family,” Walker said. “But here’s the hard part. I had great relationships with all of the programs. I feel like the school that I feel the most comfortable with and the school I can thrive more at was my choice here.”
He looked at everything. Academic fits. Previous history at each program. Each school’s track record at the linebacker position was weighed heavily. The way each program sets up for the future was also a factor.
This commitment is not expected to change. He said he only plans to visit one school after visits are expected to be restored in June. That will be the school he commits to with his public reveal on Sunday.
“My word and who I commit to really means something,” he said. “I feel like once I get on that campus, then I feel I will know I’m really committed and down for that school. When things open back up at the beginning of June and I finally get to be on that campus, then things will then be fully solidified.”
Jalon Walker: A most impressive off-the-field recruit
Walker, the son of a college head football coach at Division II Catawba College, had a unique method for figuring out his process.
Let’s just call it talking to the cup. The Walker family made a habit of that during this process.
“When my parents and I talked about the schools every night we would pull the name of a different school out of a cup,” he said. “It was the name of each individual school in my final. We talked about the pros and cons of the school. That really set it off about the pros and the cons and how the schools impacted us.”
This is an interesting recruiting case in the age of COVID-19. Walker plans to be an orthodontist according to his 40-year plan and holds a 4.0 grade-point average. If this is the last time his name pops up on DawgNation.com, kindly consider reading about that unique career path here.
With such an introspective mind, there’s a great curiosity to be found.
Does the lack of visits make this decision pure? This choice will not be influenced by frills and facilities and face-to-face sales pitches.
“I feel like my decision would have been done already,” Walker said. “Just by going to see these places, I don’t have to take an official. I can take an unofficial as many times as I want to. This feeling like to me is getting to the game and to see campus is one thing. I can see a campus and the buildings and the locker rooms from a Zoom call. But I just really liked to see each campus myself.”
“Lots of campuses might be spread out far away. Other schools could just have a town campus with everything right there together.”
There is a traditional hat ceremony scheduled for the event.
He called it a great weekend with a game for his Salisbury Hornets on Friday, a game for his father’s Catawba Indians on Saturday and then finally an All-American decision on Sunday.
“Why not finish it with a happily ever after on Sunday?” he said.
From big breakups to a “happily ever after” on Sunday? It sounds like quite a life-changing weekend for Walker.
He’ll likely remember this week even when his life is nothing but brackets, retainers, rubber bands and X-rays.
Jalon Walker has six schools among his final choices. The All-American North Carolina LB makes his decision known today. (Jalon Walker/Instagram)
(the recent reads on DawgNation.com)
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