ATHENS — Freshmen discovering their manner onto the sphere is nothing new for Georgia. Malaki Starks has been beginning for the Bulldogs because the second recreation of the season, whereas Brock Bowers led the workforce in receiving final yr.
But few freshmen do it within the method during which linebacker Jalon Walker has in current weeks. He spent many of the summer season repping at Georgia’s inside linebacker place, enjoying behind the likes of Jamon Dumas-Johnson and Smael Mondon.
After the season-ending harm suffered by exterior linebacker Nolan Smith, Walker has seen an uptick in snaps as an edge rusher or exterior linebacker for the Bulldogs. He discovered himself on the sphere for Georgia’s opening drive of the sport, enjoying in Georgia’s third-down strain bundle.
“His versatility actually helps him play between each positions,” Mondon stated. “He’s quick and may transfer round like an off-ball linebacker however he is a large man too. He’s sturdy, so he can get on the sting and set a good edge.”
Walker performed 13 snaps in opposition to Kentucky, greater than that of fellow inside linebackers Trezmen Marshall and Rian Davis. Georgia solely performed Chaz Chambliss and Robert Beal as true exterior linebackers in opposition to Kentucky.
The freshman from North Carolina did notch a deal with for loss in opposition to the Wildcats. As the Bulldogs get deeper into the season, the hope is that Walker is in a position to workforce with fellow freshman Mykel Williams to make a larger impression as a part of Georgia’s third-down strain bundle.
“Jalon has developed and is getting higher and nonetheless obtained a methods to go, and he’ll consider the primary to let you know that he is obtained to develop and get higher,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart stated of Walker prior to the sport in opposition to Kentucky. “He’s obtained to proceed to develop. He has not taken what he does in apply to the sphere simply but. He practices generally higher than he performs, and he is obtained to get by means of a few of that nervousness and that is a part of being a freshman.”
Williams has 2.0 sacks on the season and would have had one other in opposition to Kentucky had been it not wiped away due to a penalty.
Walker has labored exhausting as a member of Georgia’s scout workforce, famous teammate Broderick Jones. Jones has seen loads of Walker in apply because the beginning left deal with for the Bulldogs.
Jones supplied up a comparability for the freshman linebacker, one that gives a glimpse of Walker’s upside and flexibility.
“Jalon Walker, man, he jogs my memory of Adam Anderson when it comes to getting off the ball,” Jones stated. “He’s most likely not as tall however he packs a punch. You higher be ready while you go in opposition to him.”
Georgia has simply 18.0 sacks on the season, however the Bulldogs have accomplished a wonderful job of making strain. With Smith and Beal each off to the NFL after this season, the Bulldogs can have a gap on the exterior linebacker place.
Walker has the flexibility to fill that void, beginning now. While the Bulldogs additionally hope to get extra manufacturing out of Chambliss and Marvin Jones Jr. on the edge place, Walker has confirmed of somebody who continues to get higher the extra he sees the sphere.
With Georgia being a huge favourite over Georgia Tech this weekend, Walker has the prospect to see loads of snaps for the Bulldogs and get the reps wanted to make a better impression for the Bulldogs as they put together for the SEC championship recreation and past.
Broderick affords excessive reward for Jalon Walker
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