It’s been well documented that four-star defensive end DeMarcus Walker is best friends with Florida commitments Ahmad Fulwood, Daniel McMillan and Nick Washington.
This talented group of Jacksonville products call themselves the ‘Fantastic Four,’ and Walker is particularly close to Fulwood and Washington.
What wasn’t known until now is that Walker’s relationship with the coaching staff at Florida was quite the opposite.
Although he almost committed to the Gators at the Orange & Blue Debut and has always included UF among his favorites, Walker never got close enough with the coaches to have trust in them.
That changed on his visit Friday, where he spent most of his day talking with UF coach Will Muschamp and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.
“I’ll give it to you straight,” Walker said. “I’ve always felt love from the coaches, but at first I didn’t feel like I could really trust them. After this visit, I definitely feel like I can. This time me and the coaches sat down and had more one-on-one than we’ve ever had. We were in the staff room basically all day and I kind of grew close with them. It meant a lot to me. I got to see more of what they’re about. So they helped themselves a lot because you have to play for coaches you can trust.”
You also need ones that will take care of you, and Muschamp told Walker he would do so better than any other school.
Muschamp is obligated to.
“He told me, ‘DeMarcus, if you come here and you’re not happy and we treat you wrong, I can’t go back to Sandalwood and recruit any more players. Your coaches wouldn’t let me.’ ”
Just ask Sandalwood coach Adam Geis, who accompanied the ESPN150 member on the trip.
“My head coach made a very good example,” Walker said. “A couple years back we had a great tailback named Maurice Wells and he went to Ohio State. When he got there they pushed him aside and lied about the promises they made to him. Now coach Geis tells all his players not to go there because they messed up once and they’re not going to do it again.”
Muschamp’s pitch for Walker to stay in-state seems to have hit home with him.
“It made a lot of sense to me,” he said. “An out-of-state school doesn’t have to come back to Sandalwood and recruit. They’re only here this year for me. So if they don’t take care of me like they promise, it really won’t matter that much to them. Coach Muschamp has to come back every year.”
Walker said he’s still getting the full-court press from Fulwood and Washington. Their recruiting tactics include random texts about the Gators and surprise stops at Walker’s school and home to talk Florida football.
“It’s a real good feeling,” Walker said of their efforts. “I trust those guys and I love them like they were my own brothers. Just playing with them on the same team would be a blessing because I’ll have people that I’m very close with by me at all times. At the end of the day it’s my decision, but playing with those guys would be fun. So they’re still a big factor.”
Walker, who is scheduled to make his commitment on Aug. 3, plans on making trips to Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Tennessee and USC before giving the Gators his last visit on July 27 for Friday Night Lights.
However, if Walker isn’t ready to decide at the end of July, he said his announcement will be backed up to a later date. He claims no leader at this time.