A Hard Work Ethic that Pays Off
COLUMBIA -- Kenronte Walker has been all over America. He grew up on the East Coast in North Carolina and played junior college football on the West Coast in San Francisco. Now he's found a home in the Midwest and as the starting safety on the Tiger football team.
He plays football with passion,"like Coach Stec's always says go out there with an attitude to watch our defense and that's something that I really want to bring out and I really want to show."
Kip Edwards,Walker's secondary teammate has seen some change in his playing style, "I've noticed a more confident player on the field. He also listens, too. So, he's turning into a stud."
Walker has shown his skills since he transferred to Mizzou. What's unusual is he took a redshirt season when he first came to campus. "I actually really wanted to learn the position. I didn't want to just go out there and play the position. I was still trying to get better, but I actually wanted to be a safety."
Specifically, a strong safety with an emphasis on playing physical, "it's a part of the safety role and the safety position. Especially the strong safety. I want people to feel me and I want people to feel my pain."
Walker says his pain comes in the offseason during workouts, "all the running, all the lifting through the summer time that I did with my teammates. I want them to feel that. It's not just my pain... it's my teammates."
The pain he's talking about is not just physical, but also personal. Walker lost his mother Faye when he was 14 years old. He has her named tattooed on his arm, "it lets me know when I look down at my left arm that my mom is watching from above. I think about her right before I'm playing and when I do make a play I look up into the sky and thank god and thank my mom."
Walker doesn't just try to make his mom proud on Saturdays, but Monday through Friday in the class room,"for my mom I'll do anything and going to school is a big deal to my family and I'm one of the first people to graduate and one of the first few to graduate out of my family so it's a big deal."
Walker says if his mother was still here she would tell him not to give up his dreams and to keep playing hard every time.