Less than a week after Notre Dame landed a commitment from its quarterback of the class of 2022, the Irish pulled in their first receiver pledge of the cycle on Wednesday morning. Consensus three-star receiver Amorion Walker (Ponchatoula High School; La.) may not warrant much recruiting rankings buzz, but Notre Dame’s focus on him comes with reason, and the lack of hype may be little more than a pandemic side effect.
Walker did not get the chance to shine in recruiting camps before his junior season — most any camps held were focused on the rising high school seniors, even more so than usual — and a hamstring injury limited him to only three games in the fall. His recruitment to date has been so defined by the uncertainty of the pandemic that not only has Walker not yet visited campus, but his rivals.com profile headshot comes complete with a pulled-down surgical mask.
Yet, the Irish coaching staff made it clear to Walker he was a priority since offering him a scholarship in November, and they thus beat out Mississippi State, where Walker’s father played, and Kansas State, not to mention Florida State, Virginia Tech and Washington State.
“It’s just a good fit,” Walker told Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports and Irish Illustrated. “I love the coaching staff. I was talking to them for a while. I wanted to be the first receiver in the class, too. …
“I was on a Zoom with (offensive coordinator) Tommy Rees, and he said they were going to find ways to get me the ball and make plays and that excited me, too.”
With a 6-foot-3 frame that belies Walker’s speed, getting him the ball should indeed be a priority, though Walker May need a year or two to add muscle to his 170 pounds. A lanky stride allows him to propel through secondaries, but Walker has not grown such that he is unaccustomed to his length; body control allows the perimeter threat to manipulate defenders both before and after the catch.
Some experience playing defensive back may help Walker’s understanding of how to use a defender’s tendencies against him.
The ninth commit in the class, a bit of added muscle — not much, but some, at least to break 200 pounds as he matures — could position Walker to star as Notre Dame’s boundary receiver, a position emphasized by Irish head coach Brian Kelly during these four years of an Irish resurgence, and a position that may be up for grabs once rising senior Kevin Austin spends a year or two finally on the field there.