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Offensive line prospect Brey Walker has been committed to OU since 2015
Brey Walker’s plan was simple.
Despite a multitude of scholarship offers from around the country, the highly-touted offensive tackle wanted to make his college decision an easy one, so he set his sights on the two schools he knew best — Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
But as Walker got to know the coaches and learned more about the respective programs, he had a difficult time picking one over the other.
So instead of flipping a coin or picking a name out of a hat, Walker decided to let the two programs choose for him. With the Sooners and Pokes set to face off in the 2015 Bedlam game, he told friends and teammates that he was going to commit to whichever team won.
Fortunately for Oklahoma fans, the Sooners pounded the Cowboys 58-23 in Stillwater. And Walker kept his word.
“Family was really excited for me,” said Walker. “The night I told my father, he was sitting down watching the game. Right after they won, I said I am committing now. Just to keep everything out of my face, I’m committing now because I don’t want all the headaches.”
The unusual way in which Walker made the biggest decision in his life to date was something his teammates at Southmoore have come to expect of him.
“It didn’t surprise me. He actually told me the week of Bedlam during his sophomore year,” said Southmoore quarterback Casey Thompson. “He told me whoever wins this game, I am probably going to commit to them. Right after the game, he called me. I was in Utah with my brother Kendall (Thompson). He said I am getting ready to commit to OU.”
While that Bedlam win helped earn the Sooners another Big 12 title, it also nabbed them one of the top prep prospects in the country. According to Rivals.com, Walker is the third-ranked offensive tackle in the nation and the No. 1 ranked player in Oklahoma.
“Has prototypical size and length for the position,” said one recruiting analyst. “Possesses an excellent set, a strong punch and the agility to mirror. Flashes the power to anchor against the bull rush.”
When Walker first arrived at Southmoore as freshman, he was already bigger than every player on the team. He had earned a starting spot before two-a-days even started due to his raw size, strength and athletic ability.
Despite that, Walker came in knowing he had a lot to learn about how to be an offensive lineman in 6A football.
“Coming in as a freshman, he was massive,” said SaberCats coach Jeremy Starks. “He worked his way into a starting spot for us. He still had freshman mistakes. He still had freshman growing pains because the game is a lot faster than it was in junior high.”
The freshman mistakes Walker made were masked by his size and ability. At 6-foot-7, 330 pounds, he has the strength and mass to overpower defensive ends and down block on tackles.
Yet Walker has quick enough feet to burst off the line and attack linebackers.
As Walker’s experience and knowledge of the game has gotten closer to his talent, it has allowed him to become the type of lineman offensive game plans are built around.
“We ran a lot of powers and counter his way so he was down blocking and creating space,” said Starks. “If we got in a situation where we wanted to pull him, then we would pull him. For being as big as he is he has great feet. A lot of that goes to wrestling. He has been in wrestling his whole life. And always worked on his feet. We’ve definitely designed some things around having him there.
“I wouldn’t say his hands are his best feature. But he is big and strong. He understands leverage. What I mean when I say when he hooks up with you, you’re done, all those things combined lead to the end result, which is guys on their backs.”
Walker also believe his wrestling history has helped improve his football skills. The former heavyweight champion says he brings more than just nimble feet with him from the wrestling room to the gridiron.
“Wrestling has definitely made me more aggressive,” said Walker. “Wrestling and football work hand in hand, especially for big guys. It will help you with footwork and balance. When you wrestle you get aggressive, then when you transition back into football, your footwork will be way better and you will be way more aggressive. You will be thinking I want to dominate that guy in front of me, just like you would have that mentality in wrestling.”
Being aggressive and quick on his feet prepared Walker for the transition he had to make during his junior season. Starks and his coaching staff decided to move Walker from right to left tackle.
“I had been playing right tackle for like two years since the beginning of my high school career,” said Walker. “Last year, I switched to left tackle. At the beginning that was like my weaker side. But as the year progressed, my footwork started to get better. I stopped over thinking and just started playing. I feel like I got better as the year progressed.”
Being able to play left tackle made Walker an even more sought-after recruit. With most quarterbacks being right-handed, college and NFL teams are always searching for players who can protect their signal callers.
“I usually don’t have to worry about that side,” said Thompson. “I can feel comfortable dropping back. Also, he is good at washing down that whole side on run plays. If we ever need to run and kind of run plays to the left, we can always go to Breys’ side.”
So it was easy to see why so many top-tier Division-I programs were trying to talk to Walker, including Alabama, Michigan, Arkansas, Nebraska and Georgia.
However, once Walker made up his mind he was heading to Norman, he’s shown no interest in hearing from any other schools.
“As far as all the attention, he never paid too much attention to it,” said Starks. “As soon as he committed to OU, that’s been about it. There have been times people have come in and he didn’t want to talk to them because he was committed to OU. He hadn’t really paid a whole lot of attention to it.”
Basically, Walker’s recruiting circuit lasted a year. But in that time, he saw enough to know the Sooners offered everything any other college had, and it was close to home.
“To me, Oklahoma is high level. All these kids are hyping up their schools like Alabama,” said Walker. “But Oklahoma is a big school, too. They have newly-built facilities. They match up with a lot of these other schools.”
Walker said he committed early so he could get the entire recruiting process out of the way. As he closes out his high school career this coming fall, he knows he is on the verge of accomplishing a goal he set for himself years ago.
“It has been a goal to play in college ever since I was little,” said Walker. “I was little — like 5 years old type deal. I knew I wanted to make it to the next level when I was sitting down on the couch with my family watching TV. Watching football.
“I was like I want to do that. It’s just the love of the sport. It’s like a gladiator sport — just being able to dominate someone.”
(Editor's Note: This feature appears in the April-May 2017 Issue of Sooner Spectator. To read more or subscribe - call 405-364-4515)