By CHRIS DOBROWOLSKI firstname.lastname@example.org
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — HARBOR SPRINGS — One month ago David Walker appeared to have his future plans all laid out in front of him.
Now that future is not so certain.
Walker, a soon-to-be senior defensive end/running back at Harbor Springs, de-commited from Western Michigan on Friday and re-opened his recruitment, just four weeks after he had given the Broncos and new head coach P.J. Fleck a verbal commitment.
“He’s still got some more recruiting going on and he wanted to open up some options that might come available, and he wanted to explore those,” said Rob Walker, David’s father and head coach. “This was generated pretty much by him.”
David Walker continues to receive heavy interest from several schools, including Purdue, Indiana and Central Michigan, as well as a few Ivy League schools. He’s also being recruited by the likes of Michigan State, Missouri and Cincinnati. One thing appears to be sure, Western is no longer in the picture.
“I think they were until Thursday,” said Rob Walker. “They’ve filled those slots.”
The Broncos have been an aggressive and major player on the recruiting circuit since Fleck was hired in December. WMU, which has 26 players committed, picked up six more commitments after a camp on Thursday and has all but wrapped up its recruiting class.
“There isn’t a national signing day until Feb. 5 this year. So as far as verbally, yes, people are done at some of these schools,” said Rob Walker. “I think it’s more the case that teams in the MAC and some of these other mid-majors are super, super aggressive. Their position has been let’s grab as many kids as we can, get them to verbal, then wrap their arms real tight around them and say, ‘you’re part of our family, you’ve got to stay with us.’”
The Walkers had a whirlwind camp tour in June that included trips to six schools in seven days. Walker’s combination of size, speed and athleticism impressed at those camps and from that he had offers from Western Michigan, Central Michigan and Ball State. CMU pulled its offer after it received a commitment from another defensive end — the position the Chippewas were recruiting Walker to play — prompting the Harbor Springs standout to give his pledge to the Broncos. Since Walker announced he had de-committed, CMU jumped back into the fold.
“Yesterday it (the de-commitment) came out at about 8:30 in the morning and by 11:30 in the morning they were calling again. Those guys don’t miss too many tricks,” said Rob Walker. “They’re going to continue to recruit him as well. I haven’t heard directly from Ball State, but it wouldn’t surprise me that they would still be interested. There is still stuff in the hopper, but with the early commit it handcuffs you a bit. Just wanted to explore those other options.”
Rob Walker said he hasn’t been discouraged by the recruiting process, simply calling it interesting.
“I think it could be improved,” he said. “I think the early stuff with these commits — sophomores and freshmen, in basketball it’s down to what, middle school? It’s just getting insane. If they wanted to do stuff for kids, I think people should step in and do something. There’s a whole bunch of timing issues.
“Right now he’s in de-committed status. It’s like working without a safety net. It’s the risk you run.”
Rob Walker feels confident that his son, who was not available for comment, will not come away empty-handed, however.
“He’s going to have plenty of options and it’s hard to walk away from one (scholarship) in the hand, but at the same time I still feel good about where he’s at and what’s going on. It’s not like the end of the world. He’ll find his spot,” he said.