Walker chooses Ivy League

Thursday, February 5, 2015
Chris Walker, center signed on the dotted line to play football at Cornell University on National Signing Day Wednesday at MCHS. With Walker at the signing was his family, front row from left are, Kenterius Morris, Donna Mayes, Jasmine Mayes, and Alaya Morris. Back row from left are, Dontavius Mclean, Courtney Mayes, Wesley Walker, Lulu Walker, Kenny Mayes, and Yasmine McLean. Tribune photo by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

Marshall County High School gridiron star Chris Walker had several scholarship offers, including the Naval and Air Force Academies, but instead chose the Big Red of Cornell and an opportunity to earn a coveted Ivy League education.

"This is very exciting, I went up there and I really enjoyed myself up there and liked the coaches," said Walker.

"I also visited Navy this past weekend, but I just didn't think Navy was my choice."

Walker, the District 12AA MVP and All-State running back, rushed for 1,271 yards on 149 carries in 2014 and converted 23 touchdowns on the ground for the Tigers.

Long history

The history of Cornell football dates back for 120 years with its first official interscholastic game being played in 1889.

The Ithaca, New York based institution has produced legendary football greats Glenn "Pop" Warner, Ed Marinaro, and San Francisco 49'ers Super Bowl winning head coach George Seifert.

Even more impressive is the list of Cornel alums that have contributed to every part of the American and world culture.

"I just like the culture up there and I want to turn their program around, their coaches really, really want me and you can't beat an Ivy League education as well," said Walker. "I know I'm going to have to work hard, but it's worth it."

Famous grads

Celebrated Cornell alums include actor Christopher Reeves (Superman), authors E.B. White (Charlotte's Web) and Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse-Five), Atkins Diet founder Robert Atkins, and a bevy of founders and CEO's of some of America's biggest corporations.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, eight NASA astronauts, Bill Nye "The Science Guy", three Nobel Prize winners, former head coach of the United States men's national soccer team Bruce Arena, and the most decorated soldier in World War II, Matt Urban are also among the impressive list of Cornell graduates.

Walker currently sports a stellar 3.95 GPA at MCHS and will major in business, eventually wanting to become an equity portfolio manager after graduation.


He also understands the history of Ivy League football and covets the opportunity to play against Harvard, Princeton, and Yale in a league that does not participate in any College Football Bowls.

"It's amazing," said Walker. "They kept one side of the stadium that is the third oldest in the country."

Walker amassed 1,910 yards of total offense on the season, threw one touchdown, caught 16 passes for 149 yards, returned a kickoff and an interception for a score, and had three kickoff returns for touchdowns.

"I enjoy the thinking part of the game, but also I play off natural instincts as well, you can't think too much when you are playing the sport football," said Walker.

Bright future

Walker stated that the Cornell coaches were not sure what position he would play, saying, "They are looking at me at a lot of positions, whatever meshes well with me, defensive back, receiver, running back, a lot of places."

From his defensive back position for the Tigers, Walker had three interceptions and made 79 tackles, tied for second on the team.

There is still some unfinished business at hand for Walker, a four-year letterman on the Tigers' basketball squad, who have a big post-season run on its mind.

Walker is currently injured, but expects to be back for next week's District 12-AA Tournament.


"I have enjoyed every single bit of it, it has gone by so fast and I wish it would slow down, but that's life and I have made great lifelong friends here, but I am getting ready to move to the next chapter in my life and I am ready for it," said Walker.

"I wouldn't be in this position without God being in my life as well, so I have to thank Him."