• 50°
franklin county times

Walker pondering NFL future

By By Robbie Robertson/The Meridian Star
Dec. 17,2000
Kenyatta Walker has the decision of a lifetime before him. The University of Florida junior must decide whether he is going to enter the NFL draft or return to Gainesville for his senior season.
As it stands now, Walker,a former Meridian High standout, is a likely first-round draft pick and is rated as the top junior offensive tackle in the nation by NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. Among seniors, Kiper only has Texas' Leonard Davis and Michigan's Maurice Williams among his senior offensive tackles.
NFL Draft Digest has Walker the No. 7 pick in the NFL draft if he decides to forego his senior season. Last year's No. 7 draft pick, Thomas Jones, got a $5.7 million signing bonus and a contract for $1.845 million per year.
But Walker doesn't know what he is going to do.
One thing Walker won't have to roll the dice on is his college diploma. At the conclusion of this semester, Walker will only be eight hours away from his bachelor's degree in sociology. Walker has been named an Academic All-American the last two years.
Blessed is one way of putting it, deserving might be another.
Walker has been named to several All-America teams and was recently named the SEC's best blocker by winning the Jacobs Award.
Back home
Walker said he is coming home for the Christmas holidays for the first time since he enrolled at Florida and is looking forward to time with his mother.
Because of the relationship with his mother, Walker said going to Florida was one of the hardest decisions he has ever had to make.
Walker give credit to MHS coaches Bill Sartin and Micheal Montgomery both assistants at the time for developing him in high school.
Walker said he keeps in touch with some of this old friends and will always be from Meridian.
Florida and beyond
After spending the week in Meridian, Walker will make the trek to New Orleans to join his Gator teammates for the Nokia Sugar Bowl where they will take on rival Miami.
The one thing keeping Walker's mind on Florida are the thoughts of a national championship run next season.
Walker said that there have been some rough times at Florida, especially his redshirt freshman year.
Walker will have to make a decision by Jan. 10 on his NFL draft status. He has sent off to the NFL for his projected draft status.
But just as Walker has done in everything in his life, he is getting prepared.
Robbie Robertson is sports editor for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at rrobertson@themeridianstar.com.