Justin Walker has been in the news a lot this week. The Lee County quarterback has been the subject of more than a few stories since he broke the state single-game passing record last week.
Walker (6-3, 180) completed 42-of-70 passes for 591 yards and five touchdowns in a 48-35 loss to Warner Robins. The passing yardage broke the single-game record set just last year by Lassiter quarterback Hutson Mason, who’s now a freshman at Georgia.
What we hadn’t heard about Walker is how his college recruitment is going. And there’s a good reason for that.
There’s nothing happening.
Despite being a 6-foot-3 quarterback with more than 3,100 yards passing and 39 touchdowns on a 7-3 playoff team, Walker does not have a single scholarship offer.
“I mean, I’ve had a few letters,” said Walker, a senior. “But it hasn’t been much. It’s been more like [mail describing[ what schools are like and what they have to offer and stuff like that. Nothing much on recruiting really."
His father, Earl Walker, said West Georgia has been his son's most diligent pursuer, calling and sending correspondences regularly and taking in a game or two. But even that Division II institution hasn't stepped up with a bona fide scholarship offer.
The Walkers have also had conversations with Middle Tennessee State. But the Blue Raiders already have commitments from two other quarterbacks. They went to a camp at Mississippi State last summer but haven't heard back.
There hasn't been a word from Georgia or Georgia Tech. Georgia State hasn't even bothered to call.
"Coach [Dean] Fabrizio has done everything he can to promote him,” the elder Walker said. “We’re just shocked nobody is interested in recruiting him.”
Earl Walker said he and his family take solace in what they call “the Hutson Mason story.” A similar quarterback in a similar system, Mason did not have much in the way of viable scholarship offers until late in his senior season.
At the end of a record-setting campaign — Mason established the state’s single-season passing record with 4,560 yards and 54 TDs — he had several offers from both ACC and SEC schools as well as several mid-majors. He has played in two games for the Bulldogs this season.
As for Walker himself, he insists it’s not something that bothers him or even he even thinks about much.
“All I can do is go out and play,” said Walker, who had 2,100 yards and 19 TDs as a junior. “Whoever comes and recruits me is who recruits me. I have no control over that.”
As for his record-setting feat, Walker just sort of shrugs that off. A spread team that utilizes the Tony Franklin system, the Trojans were behind early and had to pass even more than usual to try to catch up.
“I had no idea when we were in the game,” he said. “I was just doing what Coach teaches me to do. I didn’t find out until Sunday it was the state record. It’s pretty cool, but I can’t think about it much right now. Right now I’m just getting ready for the next game.”
The Trojans open the playoffs Friday on the road against Class AAAA powerhouse Griffin.
For now, recruiting can wait.
“I can’t really be mad at people because they’re not recruiting me,” Walker said. “Maybe when the season is over I’ll check into it a little more.”
But almost as soon as football is over, Walker will be playing baseball. A pitcher and third baseman, he said he’d like to play both sports in college.
If, that is, he gets an opportunity.