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November 10, 2006
Small town lineman now an All-American
East Team (roster)
6-7, 275, 5.0
Walker in action
Ronda, N.C., is located just off U.S. Hwy 421 about 30 miles from the mountain college town of Boone, N.C. It's home to East Wilkes High School, which will send offensive tackle Landon Walker to Clemson University to play college football.
In January, the school also will send Walker to the inaugural Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The all-star game kicks off at 5 p.m. Eastern on Jan. 4 and will be televised live by ESPNU.
It wasn't long ago that Walker, a Rivals250 prospect and one of the top offensive line prospects in North Carolina in this year's class, was just hoping for some college coaches to know his name.
"It's definitely been a lot of hard work," he said. "Most of the attention has come my way because of the combines. Being in a small school in a small place in the state, it's hard to get my name out. I guess the hardest part was getting my name out to the Division I-A coaches."
To make sure that he caught the eye of scouts at the combines, he entered into a workout regimen with East Wilkes head coach Monte Chipman.
"My coach pushed me," he said. "He worked out with me every morning at about 6 a.m. He got to work out, too, but it really helped me get stronger."
Walker picked Clemson on May 30 ahead of N.C. State. He also held offers from Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, Wake Forest and East Carolina. Heading to Death Valley, S.C., means that he is continuing a family legacy. His father, Garry, played offensive guard for the Tigers from 1980-83 and was a member of Clemson's 1981 National Championship team.
Another family legacy will be continued in December when Walker participates in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, the annual all-star game which pits the top players from North Carolina against their counterparts from South Carolina. Garry Walker was the last player from East Wilkes High to make the North Carolina Shrine Bowl team when he was named in 1979.
"That's also an honor to be selected to the Shrine Bowl," he said. "It's the type of thing kids in North and South Carolina dream about. It puts you among people and gets you recognized."
Shortly after the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl, Walker – who is an excellent student - will get started on his Clemson career early.
"I will be enrolling in January," he said.