Jefferson City's Walker Prepares for Senior Season
JEFFERSON CITY - It's go time in Jefferson City, where off season workouts in the sun are part of the race to success and Kody Walker is willing to make that sacrifice.
"Think about what you put in earlier. All the hard times and the late times that didn't make it easy, but coach has this saying for us...what's hard for them is just right for us," said Walker.
His last name is Walker and according to his head coach, sometimes he could use one on the field.
"He calls me grandpa because I'm always on the field limping around. I get a lot of hits so I'm always limping around. The slow guy jogging around, but I make it," said Walker.
Makes it is an understatement. Walker rushed for 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns his junior season at Jefferson City. Now, college coaches are rushing to recruit him.
"I'll explain it to college coaches, he'll run over you, he'll run around you. He's not the blazer that's going to make that 90 yard run, but for 50 yards there is no one faster on the field," Coach Ted LePage said of his star running back.
The recruiting process is starting to wear on Walker.
"I was real excited because I always wanted to be recruited. I didn't know I was going to be this heavily recruited. I have to be honest. It's kind of getting a little bit overwhelming," said Walker.
It's arguable Walker's the most highly recruited player out of Jefferson City since defensive lineman Justin Smith headed to Mizzou in 1997.
"Where Justin separated himself is he knew he wanted to go to Missouri from day one. He just made that decision. With Kody, he is being a lot more reserved with it and doing his homework," said Coach LePage.
Walker has narrowed his choices down to two.
"My top two is Arkansas and Missouri. It's still 50-50 on them and of course, everybody around here they want me to stay at Missouri. They can watch me play, come to the games and watch me play. They are supportive."
Whether he stays close to home or not, Walker is leaving his mark on Jefferson City and it's also leaving a mark on him.
"I work for the street department. I paint curbs all day. It's fun I'd say. I got a bright orange shirt on, so hopefully no one hits me," said Walker.
On and off the field, Coach LePage admires his work ethic, "Whatever you're doing...you're going to work hard and try to do your best and that comes out not only in what he does."
The back of Walker's shoes are custom made with the phrase "Beast Mode", a motto Walker hopes opponents see a lot of this season.
"The great ones know how to intermingle with their friends and their teammates and that's probably the best thing he does. Even though he works harder than anybody in the weight room, he has a way of getting along with everybody in the weight room," Coach LePage said.
Walker says he'll make a decision between Missouri and Arkansas by the end of the summer. He is one of 10 Missouri nominees for the 2011 U.S Army All-American Bowl, featuring the best high school football players in the country.