Note: Greetings and good afternoon. Sorry no Ten@10 this morning. I was attending to personal business. The Ten@10 will resume next week as usual on Tuesdays and Thursday. Thanks for your patience.
Health issues forced Avery Walls and his mother to move out of the Union Grove High School district and, ultimately, to transfer to Eagles Landing Christian Academy. But it’s evident after a few weeks in the Cougars’ preseason camp that the move may be beneficial to Walls on the football field as well.
On the surface, a college prospect moving down to Class A from Class AAAAA isn’t a good way to enhance his recruitment. Not that Walls’ recruiting needs enhancement. A consensus four-star prospect, he has at least two dozen offers and is ranked by Rivals.com ninth in the nation at his position.
But based on early returns, the move may highlight Walls’ versatility as a football player.
Walls, a 5-11, 183-pound defensive back, will be playing both sides of the ball and special teams at ELCA. On offense he will play wide receiver and maybe some occasional running back. On defensive he’ll play his regular safety position. And on special teams he’s going to return punts, kickoffs and, get this, serve as the place-kicker.
In a recent scrimmage Walls had three carries for 65 yards on offense, five tackles and two pass break-ups on defense, returned punts and kickoffs and even kicked a few extra points.
It’s more than Walls could have imagined.
“Yeah, they’ve got me doing a little bit of everything,” Walls said. “I’m gonna have to stay in good shape this year. I don’t think that’ll be a problem. But it’s fun. I’m enjoying it.”
Showcasing his skills is not what brought Walls to ELCA, however.
“We didn’t even know until a few weeks ago,” he said. “We had some health issues in our family that caused us to move. But I still love Union Grove and I’m staying in touch with all my teammates and friends over there.”
Walls’ mother, Yvonne Sebastian, said she suffers from chronic asthma. Her condition worsened over the last few months. It was recently discovered that mold in their apartment was the source of her increased discomfort. Her doctors ordered her to evacuate immediately.
“We weren’t unhappy at Union Grove; we had a great relationship with all the people over there,” Sebastian said. “But because of everything that happened and the timing and everything it went right down to the wire. It happened real fast. But we were able to find a nice place and we’re happy and I’m much better.”
Walls says he’s much better, too. He said he has taken well to ELCA’s Christian-based criteria, which includes wearing school uniforms.
“This school is really going to help me and prepare me for college,” Walls said. “The coaches are great, my teammates have been great, I’m meeting new people. We have chapel every Wednesday, which I like. And the competition in Class A is great. We’re going to play some really good teams.”
As for his recruitment, Walls is still a ways from wrapping that up. He’s still leaning toward going away for college, if for no other reason than he hasn’t gotten strong interest from either Georgia or Georgia Tech. He plans to take five official visits this fall.
“So far I have set up with Michigan on Sept. 4th, Oregon on Oct. 2nd and Cal on Oct 9th,” Walls said. “I’m not done scheduling my visits due to our hectic football schedule.”
Walls said he also plans to visit South Carolina and Tennessee but will probably do those unofficially.
“I’m still doing research and really enjoying it,” he said. “I want to take the official visits and see what’s the right fit for me. Then I’ll let God lead me in the right direction.”
So far, he’s liking his latest decision.