Walker named to All-Ivy League squad

Friday, January 6, 2017
Marshall County High School alum Chris Walker earned first team All-Ivy League honors as a sophomore at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Photo courtesy of Cameron Pollack / Cornell Sun Photography Editor

When the two running backs before Chris Walker on the depth chart went down with injuries during the Marshall County natives' freshman year at Cornell University, Walker was thrown into action and immediately made an impact on the field, gaining 53 yards on 11 carries in three games before a concussion ended his year prematurely.

After taking some much needed time to heal Walker was back on the field, producing a first team All-Ivy League season with over 900 all-purpose yards.

"As a freshman, I experienced a concussion injury," Walker recalled. "I know how serious those types of injuries can be therefore I just rested more than I normally would. I took approximately three months off without physical activity, but everything worked out fine being that I was able to medically redshirt and uphold my four years of eligibility."

Making an impact

The former Tiger took the Ivy League by storm, rushing for 655 yards on 121 carries and three touchdowns while also catching 19 passes for 193 yards and another touchdown to lead the Big Red.

"This was my first year where I had the ball in my hands and could impact the game," Walker said. "However, football is a team sport, so I would give my success to my offensive line and coaches putting me in the right positions. All glory to God of course."

With Walker in the backfield, the Big Red turned some heads in the Ivy League finishing 4-6 with three close losses to Harvard 29-13, Sacred Heart 31-24, Brown 28-21 in two OTs and Dartmouth 17-13.

The Big Red also upset #24 Colgate in the third game of the season behind 110 Walker yards and snapped a five-game losing streak over Columbia as Walker rushed for 230 yards and three scores all of which made the powerful back a no-brainer selection for the All-Ivy League first team in just his first full year as the Big Red ball carrier.

Reaction to honor

"I felt a sense of excitement when I heard the news," Walker stated. "Knowing I can reach an accolade like this in basically my first year in the collegiate game opened my eyes a little. I definitely have a lot of work left to put in, but I know I wouldn't have been able to achieve this without a strong support system back home."

Despite having such profound early success on the gridiron at such an early stage, Walker is wise enough to realize an Ivy League education will take him far after football and is hitting the books hard at Cornell.

"I believe I will be concentrating in Marketing and International Trade," Walker said. "The prerequisite courses sparked an interest for me to further pursue these concentrations."

"Coaches say academics comes before football at these types of schools, which allows for these two subjects to go hand in hand," Walker added. "As for the class schedule, one can enroll in classes that accommodate his time frame. I wouldn't say school is hard at all, but you can get yourself lost if you fail to manage your time efficiently. That's everywhere though."

Watching the home team

When Cornell finished up its football season Walker caught a last second flight home from New York to be able watch his former school compete for a berth in the BlueCross Bowl, a move that not all former football star's make.

With Walker on the sidelines supporting the Tigers, current players were able to see a living example of what hard work on and off the field can provide and with that Walker is looked up to as a role model even if he might not see himself as one.

"I don't really look at myself as a role model, even though that perception may seem to follow," Walker insisted. "I just want my young bros to realize that you can utilize football and sports to get you to a place bigger than yourself."

"As for the game, I hated to see it go down the way it did," Walker continued. "It reminded me of the last time I was on that field, something I won't ever forget. But a lot of those guys have plenty of football left in them, so they shouldn't dwell on it."

Once and future teammate

As four current Tigers are holding offers to play DI football, Walker will soon have a plethora of Marshall County alums alongside him on Saturdays and star wide receiver Jay Howard received an offer from Cornell two weeks after the season.

Walker made clear the offer came on Howard's own merits, without the former Tiger running back's help.

"Honestly, I had little to do with the offer Jay received," Walker stated. "My coaches began asking me about him during the season, and I let them know he was a good player. He deserves everything he has gained to this point, and I wish him luck with the recruiting process!"

With one full season in the books for Walker, Marshall County fans have three more seasons to follow and root for Walker and Cornell or perhaps more if the former Tiger star continues to excel on the football field in New York.