Growing up in LaFayette, Jordan Walker remembers being in the Bulldog Stadium stands on Friday nights and dreaming of one day making plays down on that field. Walker has done just that since joining the varsity team, and he’s eager to continue that tradition this fall.
Walker has established himself as a defender that opponents would be better off not trifling with. The soon-to-be senior was an absolute menace at safety in 2018, finishing the season with 37 total tackles, seven interceptions, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery, which he returned for a touchdown.
Now with his final season at LaFayette in sight, Walker is determined to produce his best year yet.
“This offseason, I've been working really hard trying to make sure I get bigger, stronger and faster,” Walker said. “I'm just trying to be able to dominate when the season gets here. I've been going and working out with the best because in order to be the best you've got to train with the best. I really believe in that, so I go around working around with the best just trying to get bigger, stronger and faster and become a better Jordan.
“I want to continue to do big things and do even bigger things when the season comes.”
Walker moved to cornerback from running back as a ninth grader at LaFayette and hit the ground running when it came to learning a new position. The early hiccups and constant learning taught Walker the importance of watching film, a resource that could help Walker be in the right place at the right time.
Walker eventually moved to safety for the Bulldogs and soon saw the team’s man-coverage defense transition to a zone. Walker came into his own in the new style of defense, and he again pointed to his film habit as key in becoming an offense’s worst nightmare.
“I take that onto the field, and that helps me move 10 times faster. I come out here on the field, and I'll be ready to bounce around because I already know what to expect,” Walker said. “(My favorite moment last season) was down at Thorsby. The dude caught the bubble screen, and once again that comes from me watching film. I already knew what was coming.
“The dude caught the bubble screen, and I hit him head-on in the mouth. The crowd went, 'Oooooh.'”
Walker has made a name for himself as a hard hitter and a natural ballhawk, but his athleticism makes him a player LaFayette head coach James Lucas can stick anywhere.
Lucas explained that in addition to playing safety, Walker will be LaFayette’s starting quarterback and is capable of playing receiver. Walker’s role defensively can also shift depending on the situation, as he’s able to play an outside linebacker/strong safety position thanks to his willingness to hit.
Walker’s physical ability makes him an asset for Lucas and rest of the coaching staff, but it’s his openness to fill whatever role the team needs him in that truly sets him apart.
“To have a guy that not only can just do the play on his own but to take leadership and to demonstrate to guys how the effort is supposed to be taken, that's the strength of it,” Lucas said. “You don't ever hear him complain. He doesn't have that me-me-me attitude. It's, 'Coach, wherever you need me at, I'm willing to go.' That's what you've got to have to win a state championship and to be great nationally.”
Walker said he’s come a long way in learning to play defensive back, specifically perfecting the technique with his hips and his heels. His improvement over the years has earned him plenty of attention in college circles, as he’s received interest from schools such as Nebraska, Baylor, Tennessee, Kennesaw State, South Alabama and Troy.
Lucas has advised Walker to enjoy the recruiting and also make the most of his final season with his Bulldogs teammates. Walker is determined to go out with a year few around LaFayette will soon forget, and he’s got some advice for the quarterbacks who will dare to go against him.
“Go ahead and get ready to be throwing to me,” Walker said. “Even if you try to dodge me, I'll still be there to make the play.”