Virginia Tech had several impressive recruiting victories on the trail in the 2019 recruiting cycle, including landing a surprise commitment from North Carolina 247Sports Composite four-star defensive back J.R. Walker.
Walker, who was trending heavily to NC State, made a last minute visit to Virginia Tech last fall in early October that change the trajectory of his recruitment, committing to Virginia Tech shortly after the visit.
Walker enrolled at Virginia Tech in January and took part in spring camp.
Over the past week, the 6-foot, 207-pounder has taken part in his first fall camp at Virginia Tech as the Hokies prepare for their season opener against Boston College at the end of the month.
“Well J.R., it was interesting because in the spring, he came in and he is wise beyond his years,” Justin Hamilton told members of the media. “Then, there would be a concept or two that he would take some time to understand and he was like, “Oh by the way, I’m also going to my prom, do you guys mind if I miss a day on Friday?’ This kid was finishing up high school and going to the prom, but he has been exactly what we thought he would be from a standpoint of maturity, from the standpoint of personality and character he has a very high ceiling and I think he understands that it takes time but he has a good group of guys in front of him to lead the way and show him. I have very high hopes for J.R. and I think he has very high hoped for himself.”
Since the spring, Walker has been working at free safety where he is behind starter Divine Deablo and competing with reserve Tyree Rodgers for the No. 2 spot. While it is not clear if he will play this fall or not, Walker has impressed head coach Justin Fuente.
“He has had a good summer,” Fuente said. “You forget that some of those guys that come in at a semester that it is really their first summer. Sometimes as coaches we forget about that because they have been here a semester. So you throw them into the older guys with the freshman that didn’t come in early, and they are kind of by themselves. He was certainly challenged, but he finished the summer strong. We are really proud of that, and he continues to develop. What role? I’m not sure yet, but he stood out in several special teams drills and has a chance to be a good player for us.”
According to the industry-generated 247Sports Composite ranking system, Walker was considered a four-star prospect coming out of Clayton (NC) and the No. 280 overall prospect nationally. He was listed as the No. 15 athlete recruit in the Class of 2019.
Virginia Tech will open the 2019 season on Saturday, August 31, against Boston College. Kickoff is set for 4:00 PM EST on the ACC Network.