The 2013 offseason was filled with much prayer and extra preparation for Brookland-Cayce quarterback Ezekiel “Zeke” Walker.
And in the summer before his senior season, Walker had to make one major decision.
For the sake of his college options, and his team’s prospects for success, Walker decided to add the safety position to his repertoire.
“A lot of that came about because of necessity. Our situation, as far as numbers, we need our best players on the field,” coach Rusty Charpia said.
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With a 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame and the ability to run a sub-4.6-second 40-yard dash, Walker is among the Bearcats’ top talents.
With his coaches and family, the senior discussed the advantages of trying a new position.
Walker’s high school career had been shortened by injuries — he missed six weeks in his sophomore and junior seasons.
With his limited exposure, Walker, along with his family and coaches, determined that playing defensive back would give him his best shot at earning a Division I college scholarship.
“We told him, hopefully, if we win some games, he’d get more notice, and that’s pretty much what’s happened,” said Charpia, whose Bearcats are 6-2 (2-2 region).
“I really went out as a safety because I felt like, I just want to expand my opportunities to be able to go Division I and play,” Walker said.
Walker, who also plays basketball, said he wants to contribute wherever he can for a college team as he has for the Bearcats.
“If you’re just a good athlete and you know the game of football, you’re gonna play wherever the coaches need you to play, which is what I’ve done here, which has helped me come so far.”
The move has paid off for Walker and his team.
Walker worked out as a defensive back at a Shrine Bowl combine in the offseason and made the all-star roster.
“I’m kind of an under-the-radar player right now,” Walker said.
He has offers from Appalachian State, The Citadel, Coastal Carolina and Youngstown (Ohio) State, and is getting attention from larger programs for his skills in the secondary.
And Walker is getting more substantial playing time.
“He never comes out,” Charpia said. “Any time you have a guy who’s that tall and that big and runs that well, he needs to be on the field in high school.”