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May 26, 2006[Talk about this story on The Esso Club Message Board]
Ronda, NC - East Wilkes offensive lineman Landon Walker will soon put an end to the madness commonly known as recruiting.
The 6-foot-6, 270-pounder last took an unofficial visit to Clemson on May 18th, and since that day he has been leaning to the Orange & White after almost making a verbal commitment to N.C. State three weeks ago.
A busy week was capped off by a visit from Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden and tight ends coach - recruiter Billy Napier this morning. Walker has also had exams this week, plus another offer came in on Thursday, a full ride from Maryland, which joins offers from Clemson, N.C. State, North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest and East Carolina.
"Coach Bowden couldn't talk to me, so he talked to my coach while I was in the room," Walker told Tigerillustrated.com Friday. "Coach Bowden said he was very happy that I had shown a lot of interest in them. But he said they really wanted to wrap it up with me."
And indeed a verbal pledge has been wrapped up, though the package will not be officially opened until a 1pm press conference on Tuesday.
"I've got my mind made up, but I want to hold it all in until Tuesday," Walker stated. "The school that I picked, there's just a great, great feeling I have about it. I know it's where I need to be for the next four to five years. I'm not trying to be evasive, but that's all I really want to say at this time. If I said anymore about this place, it would give it away totally, and I don't want to do that."
Walker told Tigerillustrated.com Friday he gave the winning recruiter an indicator he was coming earlier in the week (Tuesday).
"I'm firm with my decision. I'm at peace with it. I'm not changing my mind, and I'm not taking any other official visits other than the place I'm committing to," he said. "Right now I'm just trying to think about what I'm going to say and how I'm going to say it on Tuesday."
Walker said Bowden did talk to his coach (Monty Chipman) about life after making a verbal commitment.
"He told my coach that once I commit, once I make my decision public, it's time to move on and focus on bringing a state championship to East Wilkes," Walker added. "He said it's all about focusing after that. He told my coach that once a player commits, it's time to become a leader."
Walker, who is arguably the most athletic offensive tackle on Clemson's recruiting board, has been impressed with Clemson's approach to recruiting him this spring.
"My impressions of them are great. Clemson has the nicest staff I've come in contact with. Coach Napier is great. Coach Bowden is great. Both are down to earth type of people, they're humble, and they talk to you like anybody else is talking to you. You'd never know that they're coaches in a big time program like Clemson. I think that's what has made this whole process so real and genuine to me and my family."
The East Wilkes star will have his mother, father and brother by his side on Tuesday. Both Landon and his father, Gary, who played on Clemson's 1981 National Championship team, are happy the process is almost officially over.
"Everything is almost done. I won't have any pressure on me going into my senior year," Walker said. "I can focus on what's there for me day by day, because my future will have already been decided."
Walker, who projects to qualify academically, carries an impressive 350-pound bench press max with a 450-pound squat max.