The 90 Illini #58: Nick Walker
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I don't know if this is the right way to say this, but of any player on the roster, the one with the rawest deal is probably Nick Walker. Getting stuck behind four really good players is something that happens a lot at other schools. But it doesn't happen much at Illinois.
For Walker, this season, as a senior, he's fighting with Nate Hobbs (SR), Tony Adams (SR), Devon Witherspoon (SO), and Marquez Beason (rFR) for snaps. That's... man, that's a rough. Again, every Wisconsin player deals with this, and that's why they've won so much the last 30 years. But I can't help but feel for the kid.
58. Nick Walker
Uniform number: 20
Year in school: Senior (1 year to play 1)
Height: 5'-10" -- Weight: 185 lbs.
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri
High School: Miller Career Academy
Former team: Juco transfer from Cisco College (Texas)
Best offers: none listed
Tom Cruise rating: 2.5 Cruises
2019 statistics: Played in 5 games, two tackles.
I believe the link to Walker was Stanley Green. If I have my math right, they played together for one year at Miller Career Academy before Green moved over to East St. Louis. Walker went off to Cisco College and then transferred to Illinois.
He entered last season as the fifth cornerback. But with late season injuries, he quickly moved up the depth chart. Marquez Beason missed the entire season, so Walker was the fourth cornerback. When Tony Adams was injured early in the Iowa game (missed the rest of the season), Walker moved up to third cornerback.
And when Nate Hobbs missed several series after getting injured against Iowa, the two corners were Devon Witherspoon and Nick Walker. That's Walker next to Sydney Brown in the photo above (I believe that's right after Brown's interception in the Iowa game). Hobbs came back later in the Iowa game, but Walker played a lot that week as well as the next week against Northwestern as well as the bowl game (with Adams out).
Nate Hobbs has the potential to be an All Big Ten cornerback this season.
Tony Adams has the potential to be an All Big Ten cornerback this season.
Devon Witherspoon has the potential to be an All Big Ten cornerback in the future.
Marquez Beason has the talent to be an All Big Ten cornerback in the future.
That's what Walker is facing. And if he can break through it and get some snaps, then it's all that much better for the defense. He waited his turn last season and then played a lot in the final three games. Hopefully he can push for special teams snaps as well as cornerback snaps this season.