The college football recruiting trail often has plenty of twists and turns, committals and de-committals and last-minute changes of heart.
But for Monsignor Pace High School senior Anthony Walker Jr., the decision begins and ends with one city. Chicago.
The linebacker/safety is solid is his choice of Northwestern University.
“A couple of late schools tried to come in, but Northwestern is where I’m going to go,” the 17-year-old says proudly.
There Walker and his 4.7 GPA can enjoy the best of both worlds – continuing to play the sport he loves while getting a degree from the school commonly called the Stanford of the east.
“I’ve been built on academics. Football can come later,” Carter explains. “I’m going to study economics and human growth and development. There’s just so many things I can do with that degree.”
Those options could include some time hustling on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
“I can be a Wall Street agent. That’s always a dream of mine. I watched the movie “Wall Street” and said ‘wow’ these guys really do this every day.”
The future Gordon Gekko’s path to the Windy City got set in motion thanks to a Nike camp in Miami last February. The 6’1”, 210-pounder ran the fastest 40-yard dash time of the thousand invitees. That got him a lot of attention quickly.
“I got my first [scholarship] offer after the Nike combine. Then my name kind of got out there. Before the spring game, I got offered by Northwestern and then I took my visit up there. I had a talk with my dad and I decided to go ahead and commit.”
It’s the input of Anthony Walker Sr., an administrator at Pace, that has been a consistent guiding force in Walker’s life.
“My dad was a football coach. I was doing pushups at the age of 2,” the younger Walker admits.
As the son of a coach, Walker quickly became immersed in a world of X’s and O’s.
“I love football. Football is not just a sport to me. It’s life because I feel like if you take football seriously, your life will be a lot better,” Walker says.
“If you do well on the football field, you can be an average student and still get a great Division 1 scholarship. Most of my friends – we just want to make it out of the South Florida area and be something better in life. We see so many of our friends dying and going to jail every day. We just want to be the people who make it out of here.”
That’s not to say the hometown team didn’t have a chance. Walker, like many of South Florida’s kids, grew up a fan of the Miami Hurricanes and dreamed of following in the footsteps of his favorite player, former UM linebacker Sean Spence, now with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Walker says he even listened to a late inquiry from one of the ‘Canes newest assistant coaches, Mario Cristobal, but decided to stand firm is his commitment to Northwestern.
With the decision already settled, now the Pace senior can begin preparations for moving across the country – preparations that include a lot of practice time in the kitchen.
“I’m a great chef,” Walker brags. “I can make my own breakfast, lunch, dinner. I make Sunday dinner almost every week for me and my dad. Most of the time it’s chicken, but sometimes we’ll go with baked tilapia or pork chops or salmon. It’s a great learning tool for me especially for when I got off to college.”
On Wednesday, Walker will make it official. He can formally sign his full athletic scholarship to play for the Wildcats, reaping the rewards of his hard work and budding independence.
“It’s going to be a long time coming because I always told my dad and mom, you don’t have to worry about having to pay for me to go to college. I’m going to get a scholarship. It’s going to be a great moment for me and my family.”