Jalon Walker is the most interesting player in Georgia Football 2023 defense
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What Makes Jalon Walker The Most Interesting Player Of Georgia Football Defense 2023
The plan wasn’t for Jalon Walker to be a collegiate-level edge rusher. He did this in high school and often did well thanks to his speed and athleticism.
“He is extremely athletic. He can run, he’s strong,” said outside linebacker Marvin Jones Jr. “He can do anything”
But as Georgia’s injuries piled up last fall, the Bulldogs needed someone who could pressure the passer. As Georgia searched for answers to replace Nolan Smith, Jones, Chaz Chambliss and Robert Beal, Georgia found a role for Walker in his pass-rushing package.
While most freshmen would be overwhelmed by taking on dual duties at inside and outside linebackers, Walker wasn’t phased. He attributes that to playing the position in high school.
But there’s another aspect that made Walker unique for the role.
“I think being coachable is a great aspect of it,” Walker said before the Peach Bowl. “Being trainable and always following the game plan is a good path.”
Walker’s father is Curtis Walker, who has been the head coach of Division II Catawba College for the past 10 seasons. Before that, Walker worked as a defensive assistant at Western Carolina and Coastal Carolina. The younger Walker had a unique upbringing that in some ways prepared him for the college game.
Hs came as an early enroller and by the end of the year Walker was clearly playing at a level well above that of a typical rookie. He had multiple pressures in Georgia’s last-second win over Ohio State and then came with his first career sack in the win over TCU.
But Georgia doesn’t have many veteran players ahead of Walker as an outside linebacker. Aside from Chaz Chambliss, no full-back for Georgia has snapped more than Walker.
There’s an easier way onto the field than Outside Linebacker. And Walker is too good a player to be kept on the sidelines. Note that in the win over Kent State, Walker blocked a punt that resulted in a safety.
“Jalon has really good pass rush skills, he helped us with some third downs,” said Georgia co-defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. “But he’s a guy that we really think can be a really good stack backer and off-the-ball backer as he keeps moving forward in Georgia.”
Related: Georgia Inside Linebacker Jalon Walker Named to SEC Executive Council
While the position of the outside linebacker is filled with inexperience, the same cannot be said of the inside linebacker. Starters Jamon Dumas-Johnson and Smael Mondon both return in 2023 after leading Georgia in tackles last season.
Behind, Georgia brings back Rian Davis and Xavian Sorey, both more experienced than up-and-coming student Walker. Sorey, like Walker, played outside linebacker in high school and some thought he might play the position in college. But Georgia chose to use that athleticism at the inside linebacker position instead.