When Alabama Crimson Tide defensive backs coach Jeremy Pruitt decided back in December that he would become the new defensive coordinator of the Florida State Seminoles, Seminole faithful were enthralled with excitement. Not only seen as a great young defensive mind, Pruitt had also built a solid reputation as a recruiter. Hours after ‘Bama secured their third title in four seasons back on January 7th, the recruiting talents in Pruitt were proven immediately. Five-star defensive end recruit Demarcus Walker announced that he was rescinding his verbal commitment from Alabama and would be joining Pruitt in Tallahassee.
Entering Florida State as an early-enrollee this January, coaches would be able to get a good look at the defensive end during spring and see exactly what the young man has to offer on the field. With the losses of DE’s Bjoern Werner and Brandon Jenkins to the NFL, there would be a good chance that Walker could see some playing time right out of the gate this season, if deemed good enough.
However, a slight issue that arose before spring practice may have hindered that opportunity.
As stated earlier, Walker enrolled at FSU in January, believing at the time that he had rightfully graduated from Jacksonville’s Sandlewood High School. Well, the NCAA Clearinghouse saw a different story.
Back in early March, just as the ‘Noles were prepping for annual spring practices, the Clearinghouse informed the university that they had found a discrepancy with one of Walker’s high school classes. They would also go on to inform head coach Jimbo Fisher and staff that the freshman would be ineligible to take the field until they were informed otherwise.
With the Seminoles having to revamp one of the top defenses in the country going into 2013, especially the losses of Jenkins and Werner, not having Walker able to participate in drills is inconvenient to say the least. Spring practice is a crucial time to learn the basic defensive schemes, build chemistry with teammates on the field, and learn the fundamentals of the coaching staff. As of right now, Demarcus Walker is missing out on all of that.
There’s been no timetable given as to when the Clearinghouse could inform Florida State of their final decision. The longer this goes on, there’s always an appeals portion of this process that can take place. That route can prove even more damaging due to the amount of time that an appeals process can take up.
Hopefully, for FSU’s sake, the NCAA can come to a decision quickly. With spring practice quickly wrapping up, coaches have yet to see what the Jacksonville native can bring to the field. One positive that can come of this is when Walker does finally hit the field, he’ll certainly have a lot of built-up aggression to take out.