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51 DAYS TO 2018 KICKOFF: Reggie Walker

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In which BracketCat counts down the 51st day until the 2018 kickoff with a profile of defensive end Reggie Walker.

#51 Reggie Walker
While it was not a sophomore slump per se, Reggie Walker’s (51) second season wasn’t quite as productive as we had hoped. Undoubtedly, some of this was due to the graduation of Jordan Willis.
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

#51 Reggie Walker

Redshirt Junior | 6-2 | 246 lbs. | Ponchatoula, Louisiana
Reggie Walker
Reggie Walker
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Defensive End
  • Previous College: None
  • Projection: Starter
  • Status: On Scholarship

Reginald Ngozi Walker (b. April 22, 1996) is an athletic defensive end who shined as a redshirt freshman and has logged 23 starts during his first two seasons. He should keep his starting job while looking to take his game to another level in 2018.

Walker chose the Wildcats over offers from Arkansas, Southern Miss and Texas Tech. He batted heavily for playing time as a true freshman before redshirting in 2015.

In 2016, Walker gave us all hope for life after Jordan Willis, playing in all 13 games with 11 starts, and collecting 11.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks to earn Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year accolades from the league’s coaches and ESPN.com, in addition to Freshman All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America and Campus Insiders.

He became the first Wildcat since 2000 to earn the Big 12’s top defensive freshman honor.

Walker’s 6.5 sacks were the most by a K-State freshman in 32 years. He finished seventh in the Big 12 in sacks and eighth in tackles for loss, but was tops among freshmen in both categories. He also ranked fourth nationally among freshmen in sacks.

Walker also finished second in school history in sacks and tackles for loss among freshmen.

He had a particularly stellar end to the season, totaling 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks over the final four games, which included a career-best two sacks at TCU.

Walker carded tackles for loss in six of his final nine games, including a career-high 2.5 at both Baylor and TCU. He also had two tackles for loss against Texas Tech.

Walker set a career best with six tackles against Oklahoma, while he had five against both Stanford and Texas A&M. He also forced three fumbles on the year, in addition to two fumble recoveries and two passes defended.

Walker tied for second nationally among freshmen in forced fumbles, while he was tied for 30th overall and tied for third in the Big 12.

Also the Big 12’s top freshman in fumble recoveries, he was named to ESPN.com’s All-Big 12 Underclassmen and Athlon’s Big 12 All-Freshman teams.

Understandably, Walker suffered from diminished production in 2017, which is to be expected after losing a running mate such as Jordan Willis.

He still started all 12 games he played, totaling 36 tackles, six tackles for loss and a pair of sacks as he earned second-team All-Big 12 accolades from the league’s coaches, as well as third-team recognition from Phil Steele.

Walker registered 12 tackles, four tackles for loss and two sacks over a two-game span against Kansas and Texas Tech. He logged a career-best seven tackles against both Oklahoma and Texas Tech.

Walker also forced a fumble against TCU and blocked his first career field goal against Baylor. He enters 2018 on the preseason watch lists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Ted Hendricks Award.

Walker played under head coach Hank Tierney at Ponchatoula High School, where he helped the Green Wave to earn an 11-2 record and a trip to the Louisiana Class 5A state playoffs.

He was ranked the 35th-best outside linebacker by Rivals.com and 53rd in the country by ESPN after recording 57 tackles, including 10 sacks, as a senior in 2014.

An all-state player who was a two-time all-district performer and district Most Valuable Player as a senior, Walker also competed in basketball and baseball. His brother, Robert, previously played football at Mississippi State.