Jacksonville Sandalwood defensive end DeMarcus Walker committed to Alabama during ESPNU’s first RecruitingNation show of the season on Friday.
To many this came as no surprise, as there was nothing but Tide talk taking place on Thursday and some said he has been a silent verbal since A-Day.
While I can’t say or speculate what Walker did during his trips to Tuscaloosa, here’s what I know in regards to Florida.
On Walker’s unofficial visit to Gainesville on June 29, Muschamp & Co. earned his trust and he in turn told them he was 95 percent sure he wanted to be a Gator.
According to several of the Florida commits that were at The Opening with Walker, they decided to call him ‘Roll Tide’ all weekend. Not fond of the nickname, Walker called coach Muschamp in front of the commits, put him on speaker phone and asked him to repeat what he said to the coaches during his visit.
From that point until this past Thursday, Walker continuously told those commits he was UF bound, which is why I was so confident in saying he would join the class.
As I mentioned Wednesday’s edition of Zach’s Mail Stack, Walker could have just been telling them what they wanted to hear all along (ala Nelson Agholor). Or maybe he changed his mind at the last minute. I’m not sure what his thought process was.
But when a recruit tells their peers where they’re going, more times than not it’s legit. And I know that when Walker informed a few of my sources of his destination on Thursday, it came as a shock because he had been firm about coming to Florida for almost two months.
Walker is still going to officially visit UF this fall and if the coaches stay on him, there’s a good chance he could flip. Regardless of what Walker says about other schools such as Auburn, my sources tell me he has made it clear to them that his decision will come down to Alabama and Florida.
In my eyes, Walker’s ‘commitment’ Friday was more like him naming the Tide his leader. Watch this video of his announcement and I think you would agree.
And as much as missing out on Walker would hurt the Gators, it won’t kill them. In the last recruiting cycle they signed strongside defensive ends Quinteze Williams and five-star Jonathan Bullard, who is already making noise as a freshman and will assume the starting job next year if Dominique Easley enters the NFL Draft.
The Gators also have Antonio Riles (Lawrenceville, Ga./Archer) committed for 2013, and although he isn’t as talented as Walker at this stage, he has a more impressive frame and his skill-set is very similar. With Dade City Pasco defensive lineman Joey Ive (who enrolls early and might also play strongside) on board as well, UF should be fine at the position for 2013.