OBITUARIES: Decatur | Shoals | Huntsville
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‘Too great to turn down’ for Austin's Walker
By Justin Graves
The Decatur Daily

Gary Cosby Jr./The Decatur Daily
Austin High's Josh Walker will be signing a letter of intent to play football for the US Naval Academy on National Signing Day.

Discussing his recent football commitment, Josh Walker ran through a list of reasons he picked Navy.

For the former Austin High star, football did not top the list.

“Academics were an important part of my decision, and what the Naval Academy offers, that’s as close to an Ivy League school as I’m going to get,” Walker said. “The opportunity was too great to turn down.”

Walker is one of six Austin players making their college decisions official today when the NCAA’s football signing period begins. In Lawrence, Limestone and Morgan counties, 18 football players are expected to participate in national signing day celebrations.

With Walker, maturity never has been a problem. Neither has football prowess.

At Austin, Walker shined on the football field, in the classroom and in the community.

As a senior, Walker, who is rated a two-star prospect by Rivals.com, led the Black Bears in rushing with 1,206 yards and 18 touchdowns. He caught 44 passes for 491 yards and three touchdowns.

And that’s only a slice of the story.

As a student athlete, Walker has been the definition of positive role model. He holds a 3.75 grade-point average and scored a 21 on the ACT. The 5-foot-11, 198-pound running back said he wants to pursue a career in engineering.

“Josh is one of the best kids I’ve been around,” Austin coach Jeremy Perkins said. “Everything he does, he does it the right way. Josh Walker is not just a good kid, he’s a great kid and a great athlete. And in my opinion, Navy is getting a player who I believe could play for almost anyone in the country.”

Walker made his commitment public last week before taking an official visit at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. He made the decision after gaining interest from Auburn and Vanderbilt, who had not extended offers, but according to Perkins, had him on their recruiting boards.

“Before taking the visit, I already knew I had made the right decision,” Walker said. “But my mom? She was a little nervous.

“The visit was great, especially for her. Being around the coaches and players, and the feeling we got from them, we could just tell that was the place I needed to be.

“As the players put it: Being a part of the Naval Academy is a brotherhood, and I can’t wait to be a part of that.”

Perkins said Walker shouldn’t have any problems adjusting to college football.

“Knowing the type of person Josh is, and the work ethic he has, there’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll be successful at the Naval Academy,” Perkins said. “He’s a tremendous athlete. But with his personal attributes and the way he handles himself on and off the field, Josh is going to be successful in anything he does.”

Contact Justin Graves at 256-340-2460 or by email at jgraves@decaturdaily.com.

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