By SAMANTHA STALLINGS, Contributing Writer
Charles Walker, a former three-sport athlete at St. Xavier High School in Louisville is now a starting punt returner for the University of Kentucky Wildcats. Walker, who is a preferred walk-on, has started in every game since coming to UK in 2014.
“I am here to play. I work hard along with every single one of our players, because we are all working hard,” said Walker. “You can tell, especially during the off season, that we are really all in this together and ready to get out there and compete.”
Walker isn’t the only St. Xavier Tiger on UK’s football team. Spencer Foy a walk-on linebacker, is also a former Tiger. Walker hopes that there will be more Tigers joining him in Lexington to play football at Kentucky.
And for those Tigers wanting to play football on the collegiate level, his advice is to take care of business. Great advice for any high school football player that wants to play college ball. Walker emphasizes that it’s up to you and you have to take care of putting in the work. You are the only one who can stay true to yourself and make the personal commitment.
Walker talks about how “you” have to do what “you” can. “Take care what you can at St. X. You’ve got to play for your team and do everything you can at St.X ,” said Walker. “When you all (St. Xavier) succeed you will personally succeed and that’s how you get recruited. For those guys at St. X and really every high school player out there do your thing and do whatever you can for your team.”
Coach Mike Glaser, former football coach of St. X and Walker, says that Walker is a no-nonsense hardworking leader that is as good as a receiver as they get and he will make the plays he needs to.
Walker played most of last season with an injured wrist and still finished the year with five catches for 61 yards. Walker wants to do everything he can this season to help his team get the wins and hopefully to a bowl game.
“I am going to do everything I can to get more catches and get more touches,” said Walker, “but if my role is on special teams again that’s the role I have and I will do whatever I can, so we can get that bowl game and get some wins.”
Growing up in Louisville, Walker grew up with a house divided. When the rivalry game lands in Papa John’s Stadium in November this season who will the Walker family be pulling for? Walker’s mom graduated from UK and his dad graduated from UofL. The rivalry between the two schools means a lot to him.
“The rivalry is big. In Louisville there are Louisville fans and there are Kentucky fans. I kind of grew up switching back and forth between the two schools,” said Walker. “We really were a house divided with my mom a Kentucky grad and my dad a Louisville grad, but really it’s a big thing.
“When we go there (Louisville) I get to play in my home city and when they come here (Kentucky) I have to respect where I am now, so it’s a really big thing for me.”