INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Georgia freshman Jalen Walker was one of the greatest benefactors of the Bulldogs’ 65-7 win over TCU on Monday night.

“I feel this game, I built confidence in myself by having my first career sack at Georgia,” said Walker, a former 5-star recruit who played at the linebacker and edge positions.

“It’s something I’ve been begging for, and when I got the opportunity, I could not miss it,” he said. “Last game, I had a couple of opportunities, but this game I really had to conquer it.”

Walker was the highest graded UGA defender in the game, per PFF, making the most of his 15 snaps.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart said in the days leading up to UGA’s dominant win over TCU that while prepping for the game, younger players like Walker benefitted from the extra work.

But even before then, Walker started finding himself in the Georgia defense.

“I felt like the second half of the season was an opportunity for me,” said Walker, who had four of his nine tackles and both of this TFLs this season over the final five games.

“I didn’t get all the opportunities I was looking for this year, but I worked my tail off for this opportunity and had to conquer it when I got the chance.”

Walker said he learned much and grew a great deal in this, his first season at UGA, with departing captain Nolan Smith leading the way.

“I transitioned over to outside linebacker, and Nolan Smith was a great guide for me,” Walker said. “He really had a role and mentored me throughout the season.”

Walker, like most incoming freshmen linebackers, needed time to adjust to the speed and complexities of a Georgia defense.

“The keys to adjusting to college ball is getting used to the speed of the game and having confidence in yourself,” Walker said.

“As for our defense tonight, we just took our adjustments from the last game and got better, and we came out to play.”

Walker said he was unsure where he would fit into the Georgia defense in the future, but he left the Bulldogs locker room smiling, with his first national championship in hand.