We've already looked at Bishop O'Dowd linebacker Hardy Nickerson Jr. Today we take a look at another local Bay Area talent who is strongly considering the Bears next season.
Watching his tape, it doesn't take too long to conclude Kenny Walker's got talent. Anytime you can play about five different positions on a football field and be effective in all of them, the odds are high that he'll be able to adjust to playing one of them.
Walker has been high on the Bears for quite awhile ($), and Cal seems to want him at wide receiver/running back. Considering the competition (seven other Pac-12 schools have extended offers), Walker is definitely on the high end of talent that Division I teams seek, and the Bears would love to have him.
Watching Walker's tape is very nice. Not "wowzers", not "what's the deal?", just right there in the middle. Walker shows solid speed, good ability to push the pile. He does a good job goading his defenders inside on his end-arounds to think he's turning inside before making another cut to get to the outside, a skill that would be nice for him to replicate at the next level. Actually, I think of Walker as a potentially strong kick returner; he's very patient, waits for the blocks to unfold, and is very difficult for the opposition to take down. Cal hasn't had a consistent kick returner in awhile, and Walker might be just the guy to fill up that gap.
The only issue with Walker is that it doesn't feel like he's a GREAT fit at any position. He has the patience and vision of a running back, but he might be a little too tall for the position and not be able to handle a huge workload. He has the jukes and elusiveness to be a solid open-field player, particularly if he goes and plays slot receiver (where many project him to end up), but because he's forced to play multiple positions and doesn't appear to be catching the ball much at his school, it might take him to adjust to learning how to run routes properly at the next level. That adjustment period might be what's holding Walker back from big-time recognition.
But it's hard not to see him coming in and being a change of pace weapon that can supplement the offense. He could be someone who can handle fly sweeps, find a way to garner huge yards after catch. He could take a few reverses. He reminds me a bit of Jeremy Ross in that respect--he's versatile enough that he can do multiple things on the field and succeed at many of them without having to be a star on the field, and that's something that's translatable to any level of football. I hope we get the chance to see him try in Memorial Stadium.