Humble Walker happy at Cornell

Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Tribune file photo by Anthony S. Puca Marshall County High School alumni Chris Walker, seen here rushing the ball against Spring Hill, has settled in well in his freshman season at Cornell.

Former Tiger already sees playing time

Coming off a senior year that saw running back Chris Walker lead Marshall County to an 8-3 record while rushing for 1,271 yards and 23 touchdown to go with 79 tackles and 3 interceptions on defense, the captain had multiple NCAA Division-I offers including Navy, Air Force, Arkansas State, Chattanooga, Austin Peay, and UT-Martin.

When it came time for Walker to choose, however, he took the road less traveled, choosing Ivy League member Cornell over the bigger schools in FBS conferences or those closer to home.

'Like home'

"I chose to come to Cornell because when I came on my official visit, it felt like home away from home, and it still does," said Whitaker, who's major at the school in Ithaca, New York, is Applied Economics and Management. "Even though I'm like 1,000 miles away from home, I'm not very homesick. I do miss my family and friends though."

Walker, the first Tiger to play for an Ivy League school since Rashad Biggers ran for Columbia University in the early 2000s, is already starting to make his mark on the field for Big Red, rushing for 53 yards in three early games.

"I start on kickoff and I'm the number two RB," Walker said. "I have a senior captain in front of me at running back as of now, but I'm beginning to see more touches. Just keeping things in God's hands."

Keeping up

Despite being far away from Lewisburg, the former football and basketball star says Marshall County is never far away from his heart, and he has many great memories from his time as a Tiger.

"My favorite memory would probably be my first game of senior year when we smacked Shelbyville. We were the underdogs, but came out on top," Walker remembered. "I keep up with Marshall County football continuously. I feel like I still have a bond with the coaching staff and I have my little cousins still on the team as well. When some of my (Cornell) teammates ask me how my high school team is doing this year, I can proudly say they're balling and doing very well."

Walker, a true athlete, played a host of positions in his four-year prep career including quarterback as a freshman before moving over to starting wide receiver, then running back, free safety, and wide receiver for the remainder of his time in Lewisburg while also lettering in basketball.

"I also played point guard on the basketball team as well and I'm sure Coach Bodenhamer will have the team at state this year," Walker said.

Rushing ahead

Walker represented the Tigers family well in the most recent game in which he played, leading the Big Red in rushing yards with 47 on nine carries with a long run of 11 yards in the most extensive playing time he's had all season against an unbeaten Harvard team.

Marshall County is known in southern Middle Tennessee for sending players into the college ranks almost every year and Walker has some advice for his former Tigers teammates who aspire to play at the college level.

"If there is one thing I could tell my boys coming up is just to stay humble," Walker said. "The game owes nothing to you."

Cornell will look to finally get into the win column on Saturday against league foe Brown.