CM’s Walker eager for a season at LB
STATE COLLEGE – No joke, Von Walker is a Penn State linebacker.
Walker enters his sophomore season as a Nittany Lion walk-on as a linebacker after playing special teams last season listed as a running back and safety on the roster.
Coach James Franklin’s preseason depth chart listed Walker, a Central Mountain graduate, as fourth string at 5-11, 207 pounds and fourth string at one of the outside linebacker spots.
“There were always a bunch of jokes that I’d get moved. I kept getting bigger and bigger and go from running back to safety and then to linebacker,” said Walker Monday at Penn State’s media day. “But that was with the old staff and I never really thought it would happen. But, it was the best thing for me and I can’t wait to get started.”
Walker made a quick impression last year on Bill O’Brien, and he responded with playing time as a true freshman by returning 6 kickoffs for 99 yards and 4 punts for 19 yards, second on the team. He also carried 7 times for 18 yards and made 3 special teams tackles.
Summer preparations for linebacker involved a focus on the new coaching staff’s playbook and a different set of positional meetings and film study in addition to the usual conditioning program, which Walker said made him stronger and faster.
Walker said watching Mike Hull, who moves this year from outside to middle linebacker as the most experienced member of the group.
“You pick it up as you go and I’m pretty sure I’m doing the right things in there,” said Walker. “I just want to be the guy who helps the team out and does everything to help my linebacking corps out.”