Follow my lead

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- ESPN 150 defensive end DeMarcus Walker (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) received his game jersey Wednesday afternoon during the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game.

The 6-foot-4, 274-pound four-star athlete said he was humbled by his selection to the prestigious contest and looks forward to having his name mentioned with some of the great players that have participated in the game.

"It's a blessing," Walker said. "From watching it the past two years with my girlfriend and telling her I want to play in that game. To watching the great Julio Jones, Da'Quan Bowers, Landry Jones and Matt Barkley. I want to be a part of that legacy and be an alumnus of that game."

Walker committed to Alabama on Aug. 24 and will be one of six Crimson Tide players playing in the game. Walker says he is looking forward to building relationships with the other Alabama commits prior to entering college.

"Me and O.J.(Howard) have talked about playing together," Walker said. "I don't know who else is playing in it, but I'm just looking forward to playing with those guys and getting to know them before I play on the next level with them."

The No. 3-ranked defensive end in the country will be the first person from his family to go to college and says he tries to use his football platform to be a role model for other students and for kids.

"I try to be a role model," Walker said. "A lot of people will come up to my locker and ask for my autograph and all that stuff but I try to
avoid all that. Sometimes a teacher will tell a student something and they won't listen, but if I say something, then they will listen. So I try to set an example and just be a good person."

Sandalwood head coach Adam Geis said that Walker is a special person on the field -- a type of player you can build your defense around.

"When you have a player of his caliber, it gives you something to build around," Geis said. "Everything we do is based around stopping the run, and he's the center of that.

"He's a good kid, he's never missed a practice -- he's here every single day. He's a fairly vocal leader. The kids know every single day that DeMarcus Walker is going to be at practice. If he's banged up or if he's had a bad day or if he didn't have a good game the week before, he's still going to be there every day. He's never missed a weightlifting session or practice."

Geis said there are some schools that continue to recruit his star defender, and though Walker remains solidly committed to the Crimson Tide, there is one school that people just can't count out.

"The ones that still feel they have an outside chance still call," Geis said. "I think Florida's always got a chance. Shoot they're winning, they are right down the street. At the end of the day, if the kid panics and says, 'Gosh, I don't want to go that far from home,' then you got a team that is ranked fourth in the country that's right down the street. Other than that I just tell people that it's probably not going to happen. If it's not Alabama, and it might be a last second thing, you just never know. You just can't count Florida out."