Walker Wood is many things: elusive, fast and determined.
The 3-star quarterback from Lexington, Ky., has a lively arm, can shed tackles and is a sponge away from the football field. But Lafayette High School coach Eric Shaw believes he’s much, much more than that.
“He’s a linebacker playing quarterback,” Shaw told SEC Country. “He’s just that intense.”
Wood, who committed to Kentucky less than two weeks ago, spurning Louisville and Cincinnati in the process, has all the traits needed to be a successful leader in the huddle.
Take last Friday for example, when Lafayette faced Tates Creek High School (Lexington, Ky.). Lafayette turned the ball over four times and was down a score late in the second half. Wood, who is known as much for his legs as he is his arm, dropped back and escaped the pocket.
He leaped from Tates Creek’s 5-yard line into the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown, as Lafayette (9-2) concluded its regular season with a 29-28 finish.
“He wanted to make sure we were successful,” Shaw said. “He was willing to give his body up. I wish I had 1,000 of him.”
Those are the intangibles a coach can’t teach, which is why Wood has been such a versatile weapon for Shaw and his staff. He can play several positions, from defensive back to wide receiver. For Wood, hitting a defender is as enjoyable as throwing a touchdown pass, though his primary goal is to make a push at quarterback when he heads to Kentucky in 2017. The program recruited him as an athlete.
“My goal going into Kentucky is to play quarterback,” Wood told SEC Country. “That’s the plan, and I’m going to work my butt off to do that.”
Wood’s decision to commit to Kentucky may be perceived as premature, but why wait if you like something? He maintained that he wasn’t in any kind of rush to conclude his recruitment, either. Simply, he felt most comfortable with the Wildcats.
“I didn’t think about it too much or too hard,” Wood said. “I just let my gut make the decision. I really love the staff over at Kentucky and I think Coach (Mark) Stoops is doing a good job rebuilding the program.”
Wood has been a recurring visitor on Kentucky’s campus since his freshman year. This past spring, however, was the first time he met with new offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson. Wood said his visit gave him a glimpse of the direction Kentucky’s offense was headed under the tutelage of the former West Virginia play-caller.
“They’re on a really good road right now,” Wood said. “And Coach Stoops is bringing in some good talent. A couple plays here and there and they could’ve pulled out some really good games.”
Interestingly enough, Wood’s teammate, Landon Young, is also committed to Kentucky. The 4-star offensive tackle pledged to the Wildcats in June of 2013. The two have been friends since the seventh grade and have visited Kentucky together on occasion. Teammate Jedrick Wills, a 4-star tackle in 2017, could also be in play for Kentucky in two years. Wills is rated as the No. 53 player in 2017 and is considered a strong lean to the Wildcats.
“It’s a great opportunity for me, Landon and Jed, if it ends up happening,” Wood said. “But we don’t talk too much about it.”
Wood is rated as the No. 5 player in Kentucky for 2017.