Redshirt Freshman OL Building Trust
Landon Walker Profile "Until they earn my trust, they are not going to see the playing field under me on the offensive line," Scott said. "That's why I recruit the young men that I do because it is so critical especially at this position." One redshirt freshman that has earned that trust is right tackle Landon Walker. Scott says the 6-foot-5, 280-pound tackle from North Wilkesboro, N.C. does all the right things and has positioned himself behind Chris Hairston for some serious playing time this fall. "He is doing all that," Scott said. "He is a competitor and I think he has a little something inside him and I will be anxious to see it." CUTigers outlook: Walker lost a little of his fire last year once he got injured and knew he was going to redshirt. There was a chance in his mind that he might have contributed a little last season, and he might have, but he would not have seen significant playing time because of the progress Chris Hairston made behind Christian Capote. It worked out to be the best thing. This year, look for Walker to play a good bit as Hairston's backup. Coach Scott really likes his toughness. He is every athletic and works hard. All three are attributes Scott looks for in a player he can trust. That competitiveness is why Walker was a four-star prospect and the No. 13 offensive lineman in the nation by Scout.com. During his senior year at East Wilkes High School, he graded 85 percent on the offensive side of the ball, while earning a spot in the Shrine Bowl. He also had had 130 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, one recovered fumble, and 10 pass breakups on the defensive side of the ball, good enough for county player of the year honors. "He is a tough kid and is a guy that is going to play a lot of snaps for us," Scott said. Walker gained a little more experience than the rest of the true freshman by coming in early as a mid-year guy in 2007. "His mind was swimming early most of the time. It was a faster game, but by the time spring ball was over last year he had adjusted and made significant improvement," Scott said. "I think his confidence grew a bit when he had to start the spring game." Walker started the spring game for then senior Christian Capote, who missed the game due to family reasons. "He did okay," Scott said. "I felt like he had a very productive spring for a high school senior because that's what he was. Unfortunately, we get into summer camp and he tears his knee up in the second practice. Then he is out and during all the time we were working with the freshmen, he was on the sideline having his knee worked on. By the time he was 100 percent he was moved over to the scout team and didn't really get coached much." Scott said Walker is still ahead of all the other freshmen despite his injury because he did enroll early and got a lot more coaching in the spring than freshmen linemen got during the fall. "He will be a second-team tackle for right now behind Chris Hairston. He has a nice punch on his pass protection," Scott said. "We are looking for a big year out of him and he should be fighting his way into the two-deep. This will be the year for him to get some playing time as we develop our young tackles."