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January 7, 2011
What's in a name: Fudge is fastest
MORE ARMY BOWL: Game preview | Complete coverage
SAN ANTONIO - If you're going to show up at a combine with some of the top juniors in the country with an unusual nickname, you better be able to back it up - with personality and performance.
Walker Van Hooser of Montgomery (Ala.) Trinity Presbyterian - a dual-threat quarterback/wide receiver who goes by 'Fudge' - did that just that Friday morning in the Alamodome.
Fudge ran the fastest 40 time in the morning workout sessions, stunningly running under 4.4 at the U.S. Army National Combine. He was one of just two players to go under 4.4 all day.
The time is even more impressive considering the Alamodome has notoriously slow turf - a factor that left few kids able to get under 4.5.
Fudge, who finished sixth in the 100-meter dash at the 2010 Alabama Class 3A state track meet as a sophomore (11.11), wasn't surprised by his efforts.
"Last week at a combine I ran a 4.47 in pretty much the same setup," he said.
He said his time slipped in his second effort, because he did the same.
"That's not surprising," he said with a chuckle. "I slipped at the start and never got going."
The speed is impressive. The origin of the nickname? Not so much.
"I wish I could tell you a good story," he said - once again answering the question. "It's just a nickname a friend gave me in the first grade. It just stuck."
He's got the speed and the personality. Whether he's got the game remains to be seen.
Last year, he practiced all season as a quarterback but played wide receiver in games, catching 27 passes for 277 yards and two TDs.
It's uncertain what position he'll be at as a senior - or in college. He's already committed to Tulane.
"I'll play wherever I'm needed," he said.
But before you think his times might help him get some more big-time offers, think again. His brother is a red-shirt freshman at Tulane. This is as solid a commitment as you can get.
His brother, by the way, also got the speed gene. He was second in that 100 state final (10.89) and also took second in the 200.
His brother, however, didn't get the nickname. He just goes by Wilson.