Nation's top running back recruit commits to Michigan
Kareem Walker finally had his mind made up.
The nation’s No. 1 running back recruit, Walker killed the suspense. No more rumors about decommitments, official visits or stories about which team’s towel he wears in playoff games. On Thursday, he finally made it official.
He’ll be a Wolverine in 2016.
Walker announced that decision at a ceremony at DePaul Catholic in New Jersey. He chose Michigan over Alabama, Arizona State, Auburn and Florida State.
The No. 38 overall recruit will give Jim Harbaugh’s sixth-ranked 2016 class the dynamite tailback it had been looking for. Walker the second-highest rated recruit in Michigan’s 2016 class, and is second to only four-star offensive tackle Ben Bredeson.
Walker also became the fourth 2016 recruit from the state of New Jersey to commit to the Wolverines. New Jersey product and redshirt freshman sensation Jabrill Peppers is considered to be a close friend of Walker, which surely didn’t hurt his recruitment.
With Michigan relatively thin at the tailback position, Walker could challenge for the starting job as a true freshman. That wouldn’t be out of the ordinary in the B1G, which saw the likes of Saquon Barkley (Penn State), Shannon Brooks (Minnesota), LJ Scott (Michigan State) and Markell Jones (Purdue) thrive in starting roles as true freshmen.
Walker’s commitment will also add even more fuel to the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry.
Walker originally announced his verbal commitment to the Buckeyes at halftime of the 2015 national title game. But following an official visit to Michigan in October, Walker maintained his desire to take all of his five trips. He later decommitted from Ohio State and took the rest of his official visits.
That caused an uproar from both Michigan and Ohio State fans, which prompted Jim Harbaugh to tweet out an indirect message of solidarity.
It’s the second straight year in which a highly touted tailback recruit flipped between the two rivals. When Mike Weber switched his commitment to Ohio State, that also caused quite the stir.
Both Walker and Weber could be the offensive leaders in this rivalry for years to come.
For now, the drama appears to be in the past. Well, maybe at least until late November.