Trey Walker is a linebacker at heart, but he is not strictly a linebacker.
In many ways, Walker’s versatility fits perfectly with the rest of the Northwood Falcons, who have built a team of two-sport standouts.
“We’ve had good luck with Slade Baker and Dustin Brown coming from the baseball team,” Falcons coach Jim Gatlin said. “And then, Jerrick (Peterson), Martavious (Washington) and Trey all play basketball.”
Walker is one Falcon who isn’t satisfied with simply playing two sports. As a tight end and a linebacker, Walker pulls double duty during football season as well.
“I really credit basketball,” Walker said of how he deals with seeing time on both sides of the football field. “It keeps you in shape with all the running. It keeps you ready for football season. You keep your quickness, your speed, your energy level. It keeps it all built up. It keeps us in better shape for football.”
Walker is part of a deep, talented group of receivers, who clicked with Peterson last season to form one of the top offenses in Northwood history last season.
With a couple of other tight ends emerging for the Falcons, Walker may see time at his preferred position.
“He’s probably, just pure toughness, better than anyone we’ve got at blocking,” Gatlin said. “We’d like to play him somore at linebacker, and we may be able to do that. We’ve got some other tight ends coming around, so we can go to two-tight end sets and rest Trey and let him play more on defense.”
That would be just fine by Walker.
“I pretty much like (linebacker) better,” Walker said. “I like to hit, the contact, the physicalness and all that.”
The problem with trying to pigeonhole Walker into one position is his versatility.
Offensively, he is a piece to a puzzle that returns eight starters from a team that won nine games and reached the second round of the Class 4A playoffs. In addition to his blocking prowess, Walker (6-2, 195) can be a mismatch in the passing game.
“We’re a spread offense that can run with a tight end,” Gatlin said. “We like the matchups with linebackers trying to cover him. His speed gives him an advantage. He’s just a good all-around athlete.”
That much is shown by his success in basketball and football.
Walker also has shown the ability to multi-task, down to using basketball drills to aid his football skills.
“In basketball, you play defense by sliding your feet,” Walker said. “At linebacker, you move side to side across the field. You’re basically working on two sports in one sport.”
The same goes for Walker’s positions.
As a linebacker, he has learned to sniff out offenses’ tendencies, just as his background as a tight end has taught him how to anticipate an oncoming blitz.
The one thing it cannot do, however, is make it easy on Walker to determine who would win a battle between Trey Walker, tight end, and Trey Walker, linebacker.
“I’d say Trey Walker going up for the catch, because of all the physicalness and stuff,” he said after mulling the question for several seconds. “I still make catches in traffic. I’m a linebacker going for the hit, but I’m coming down with the ball. I’m more physical going up for the ball.”