Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. In this edition, we discuss the latest with Georgia LB Quay Walker and his talented 2019 teammate Jammie Robinson.
CORDELE, Ga. — Quay Walker swore he would never visit Tuscaloosa again.
Walker, a 4-star linebacker from Crisp County High School, went to Alabama’s game against Texas A&M this past season with his teammates Markaviest “Big Cat” Bryant and Jammie Robinson.
Bryant was the Crimson Tide’s main focus out of the group on that Saturday because he was a highly coveted Class of 2017 prospect. The 4-star recruit, who ultimately signed with Auburn, had an offer from Alabama and was one of the team’s top defensive line targets.
Even though Walker was an elite recruit himself at the time, the Alabama staff, he said, didn’t pay him much attention.
“The first time I went to Tuscaloosa, I didn’t like it,” Walker told SEC Country. “I went with Big Cat, and it was all about him. I didn’t have an offer at the time. I told my coach that I was never going back to Alabama. I was really upset about it. I really wanted that offer.”
Fast forward seven months, and Alabama is in good position to land Walker’s commitment, which he says could happen either before the start of his senior season or shortly into it.
Walker returned to Tuscaloosa in late February, and his experience was much more positive than his time last October.
“It just felt different. It felt right,” Walker said. “I had a really good feeling. I was telling Jammie that it just felt right that day. It felt like it was something I could get used to. Putting on that crimson and white jersey felt good.”
The South Georgia recruit now has Alabama as his leader because of the attention the coaching staff has shown him.
Alabama’s recruiting efforts are led by defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley, who stays in touch with Walker, his head coach Shelton Felton and Walker’s mother Kameisha Shiloh nearly every day.
No school is recruiting Walker as hard as Alabama. He said Alabama’s lead could be measured at a 100 percent threshold while the other four schools in the mix, Auburn, Florida, LSU and South Carolina, are tied at 60 percent.
“If I had to commit today, it would be to Alabama,” Walker said. I mean, It’s Alabama. They have done a great job with showing me how much they want me. You just can’t compare Alabama to the rest of the schools. It’s different there.
“I just think Alabama is going to push me to where I want to go. Alabama is all about competing. Don’t get me wrong, Alabama is not for everyone. With me, I talked to my coach about this. Alabama is a school that can bring out everything in me to make me better and better every day.”
Walker said the reason why he hasn’t committed yet is because he wants to go back and visit his other top schools to make sure he wasn’t missing anything. He also needs to bring his mother along on these trips. She hasn’t previously gone on any visit. That’s important because he won’t commit anywhere without her blessing.
So far, Walker’s mother is very high on both Alabama and Auburn. Those are the schools in daily communication with her about her son.
But because she hasn’t visited Tuscaloosa yet, Walker, who’s being recruited at both inside and outside linebacker, has had to explain why Alabama is his “no doubt” No. 1 school.
“It’s not all about football for me,” Walker said. “I want to become a better man at the school I choose. I asked Nick Saban that 1-on-1 in his office. He answered the question very well.”
Not only is his mother an important figure in Walker’s recruitment, but so is his grandmother. LSU, via outside linebackers coach Dennis Johnson, is the only school to reach out to her.
“That’s a lady who took me in when I was younger,” Walker said. “She helped put food on the table and put clothes on my back. If I can’t talk to anyone else, I know I have my grandma. My mom and my grandma are going to be right there if I make it one day. I dream about it every day. I get overly excited about it, but I have to humble myself.
“I want to make sure I can give back to them so they don’t have to worry about anything anymore. I hope I can let them see more of the world one day.”
Walker once considered Georgia his leader. He has a lot of state pride, but he won’t be playing for the Bulldogs.
In his recent top 5, Georgia was replaced with South Carolina because the Bulldogs’ coaching staff stopped contacting him. Walker thought the change would spark communication with UGA once again, but it didn’t work.
“I was upset about it, but I’m over it now,” Walker said. “Things just fell off with them. Compared to my top 5 schools, Georgia just didn’t communicate with me. The only time I would hear from them is when I am doing these interviews and I say something about them. They hit me up at that point. I just felt that it wasn’t real with them.”
Is there any explanation for why Georgia would stop recruiting one of the Peach State’s top players who at one point seemed destined to commit to the ‘Dogs?
Perhaps it has to do with the fact that Walker’s teammate, “Big Cat” Bryant was silently committed to UGA this past January before signing with Auburn. My colleague at DawgNation, Jeff Sentell, has a great story on why Bryant spurned the Bulldogs over the Tigers on National Signing Day. Maybe Georgia soured on how Bryant’s recruitment played out and didn’t want to do it all over again with Walker.
It doesn’t matter now. Georgia is completely out of the race.
“It’s over with them,” Walker said. “That’s it.
“I was emotional about it. That’s the in-state school, but at the same time, I can’t really get in my feelings about this stuff. This recruiting process is all a business. I just have to do my part, and that’s all I really can do.”
Georgia’s loss is Alabama’s gain, though, because Walker is one of the Tide’s top targets at linebacker in the Class of 2018.
A few years ago, Walker having the opportunity to play football at Alabama wasn’t a possibility.
Felton remembers the play quite vividly.
Crisp County’s basketball team was on a fast break. Walker ran the length of the floor, caught an alley-oop pass and nearly brought down the basket with the amount of force he applied to the rim.
Felton was new to Crisp County and was looking for more talent on the gridiron. He approached Walker and told him he had a better future in football.
“I told him that you can stay here [on the court] and go to Auburn State or Auburn Tech or come on the football field and by senior year, you’ll be SEC or ACC with that freaky ability,” Felton said.
Walker didn’t automatically buy into what Felton’s pitch.
— Chris Kirschner (@ChrisKirschner) May 11, 2017
“Quay was hesitant,” Felton said. “That first year, I put him on offense. Like a little baby, you give them a little candy and we threw him the ball. Going into his junior year, I sat down with him and said if you stay on offense, you’ll be a mid-major player. If you listen to me and go on defense and play on the opposite side of Big Cat, you’ll be a Power 5 player.”
It turned out Felton was right. Walker’s final 5 schools are all SEC programs. The attention Bryant received from opposing offensive linemen helped Walker get noticed.
Crisp runs a 3-4 front, which is what Alabama runs, so the transition for Walker, if he chose Alabama, would be seamless.
Felton believes one of the reasons why Alabama is on top for his star player is because of the talent the Crimson Tide have on defense. While others may shy away from loaded depth charts and other 5-star players, Walker wants to be a part of that.
“Quay is a competitor. He loves competing,” Felton said. “He doesn’t want to be the No. 20 or No. 25 player in the country. He wants to be No. 1. He feels like if he chose Alabama, he can show why he is one of the best players in this country.”
Barring a major change in his recruitment, it’s likely that Walker will have that opportunity come 2018.
Quay Walker’s 2019 teammate
There’s a lot of talent at Crisp County outside of Walker.
One of those players is 2019 athlete Jammie Robinson. Robinson rushed for over 1,400 yards as a sophomore and had 3 interceptions. While those offensive numbers are gaudy, mostly every team that has offered Robinson so far, Alabama included, is looking at him as a defensive back.
Ansley offered Robinson as a nickelback. When he got the Alabama offer, Robinson called it a dream come true.
“Alabama just wins all of the time,” Robinson said. “Every year, you see them playing in the national championship. Me getting offered from them really is a pleasure. It’s great.
“I like everything about that school. I went to the Texas A&M game and the fans were just crazy. It’s live up there. I love it.”
Walker and Robinson have discussed the possibility of playing together in college, specifically at Alabama.
Both had the feeling of wanting to commit right away when the Crimson Tide offered.
“I would love to see us play together again at the next level,” Robinson said. “Quay and I grew up playing football together. We’ve been playing peewee football since I was like 7. We have the same background. We’ve been through a lot. It’s great to be in the same situation as him.”
Robinson said there’s no doubt Alabama will be in the mix for his commitment mainly because of the Tide’s success at producing NFL-caliber defensive backs almost every year.
“I think I could be like one of them,” Robinson said. “I think if I committed to Alabama, I would have a higher chance to go to the league than if I went elsewhere.”
Miss a previous edition? Find every post of SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings recruiting notebook right here.