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June 29, 2011

Like father, like son

Cornerback Darnell Walker, son of a former NFL defensive back, was the top defensive prospect at Tulsa's June 14th camp. The 5-10, 160-pound senior promptly received a scholarship offer from the Golden Hurricane and has since been learning more about the school and its football program.

"It's great," he said of Tulsa. "I really liked the coaches, and everyone made me feel comfortable and welcome. It's a great academic school, which is also a big plus. I didn't get to see (the campus and facilities) all that much, but what I did see, I thought it looked awesome and very new.

"I've been researching (Tulsa) and looking at what I want to major in, and they have all of that. Like I said, when I was there, the coaches and players were really cool. It is always a blessing to have the opportunity to kind of choose where you want to go to school and have it paid for just from hard work."

Tulsa is the second program to extend an offer to Walker, who is getting attention from Big 12 schools.

"I also have an offer from Colorado," he explained. "They offered me at the end of the school year. The University of Missouri has been to my school a few times, and they are recruiting me pretty hard. I figured they would have offered me by now, but nothing yet. I've gotten letters from all over."

At Bolivar last season, Walker did a little bit of everything. Defensively, he made 34 tackles, nine pass breakups and grabbed an impressive seven interceptions. On offense, he caught 24 passes for 390 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing three times for 80 yards and a score.

Walker was also a star on special teams, returning 14 kickoffs for 438 yards -- an average of 31.3 yards per return. He also averaged 21.4 yards on 15 punt returns.

The superior athlete, who also won his district in the long jump, says that guidance from his father -- Darnell Walker Sr. -- is a major factor in his strengths on the football field.

"I'd have to say everything my dad has taught me," he said. "So, I guess just my knowledge of the game, but more than anything, my footwork and hips. I've never been really fast, but I've always been quick, so I use that to my advantage. Once my dad showed me how to train my eyes and read certain things, I just worked on it as much as possible to try and perfect it."

The elder Walker was hired in April of 2009 as the defensive backs coach at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar. Prior to that, he spent five seasons coaching defensive backs at Bacone College in Oklahoma. A graduate of Sumner High School in St. Louis, Missouri, Walker Sr. played for the Oklahoma Sooners and enjoyed an eight-year NFL career with the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions.

It is obvious that Walker Sr. has passed down his experience and knowledge of the game to his son, and Walker Jr. says that dad has also helped during the recruiting process.

"He's been a big part in telling me what I should do with certain situations and not to just call coaches all the time trying to get their attention," Walker said of his father. "He says if you're good, they will find you, so let God take care of it. It's also a learning process for him as well, because he didn't just have a lot of D-1 offers out of high school. He was a junior college guy, so we're both learning together."

Walker will continue to train through the remainder of the summer in preparation for his senior season.

2011 InsideTulsaSports.com. All Rights Reserved.

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