Sept. 16, 2005
#3 Darius Walker
Sophomore, 5-10, 208
Sophomore running back Darius Walker is in his second season at Notre Dame and is coming off a strong freshman year for the Irish. He appeared in 11 games, making two starts and set a Notre Dame freshman rushing record with 786 yards on 185 carries. After sitting out the season opener versus BYU, Walker burst on the scene versus Michigan, rambling for 115 yards on 31 carries with two touchdowns in the 28-20 upset of the eighth-ranked Wolverines. He finished the year with seven touchdowns and had 10 receptions for 74 yards on the year. Walker came to Notre Dame after a standout high school career at Buford High School. As a senior, he rushed for 2,406 yards and 46 touchdowns (breaking the Georgia High School Association record of 42, held by Herschel Walker), helping Buford to its third consecutive state title and a 45-game winning streak. GameDay Magazine’s Matt Willett gives Irish fans a chance to get to know Darius Walker.
Willett: What is your major and how did you get interested in that area of study?
Walker: I am interested in fine arts. I may go into acting someday, but I decided to go with a major in business and minor in fine arts. I want to get into business management because I want to own a chain of malls.
Willett: What is your hardest class and what makes it so hard?
Walker: My hardest class is calculus because it takes so much time and includes a lot of homework.
Willett: What is your favorite class and why?
Walker: My favorite class is social psychology. I took it this past summer. It was my favorite class because it wasn’t so much about learning material but it was more about the grasping and understanding of life and the different concepts. It wasn’t all in the book. It was more of using your knowledge and answering questions. There were no direct answers.
Willett: What made you pick Notre Dame over the other schools you were interested in? What were the other schools?
Walker: My top three schools were Notre Dame, Ohio State and Southern California. I chose Notre Dame because I felt that I could get the balance of academics and athletics. Notre Dame has a great tradition and history. You also get a top-notch education. It was a win-win situation.
Willett: To date, what has been the highlight of your Notre Dame career?
Walker: I would say the highlight of my Notre Dame career is getting an “A” in my calculus class.
Willett: Who were your sports idols as a kid and why?
Walker: Growing up my idols were Deion Sanders and Barry Sanders, and more recently, Michael Vick. I like those players because they were the prime-time players. They could open it up at any time. They were the guys that everyone wanted to watch and see. They were amazing to watch.
Willett: As a football player, is there any one player you modeled your game after?
Walker: I really haven’t modeled my game after any one player. I think that I remind myself a little bit of Marshall Faulk. He is also one of the great running backs. I try not to model myself after too many people. I just try to go out there and do what I can and be versatile.
Willett: Who has been your biggest non-sports role model and why?
Walker: My biggest non-sports role model would be my mother, because she has always been there for me no matter what. She helped me in the classroom and she helps me out on the field.
Willett: What is one thing in your life that you cannot live without?
Walker: I can’t live without my mother. I am a big Momma’s boy.
Willett: What is the best advice that you have ever been given and who gave it to you?
Walker: My father gave me some advice when choosing a school. He said not to just look at a decision as a four-year decision, but that it would be a forty-year decision.
Willett: How do you think you’ve grown as a person since coming to Notre Dame?
Walker: I think that I have grown a great deal intellectually. I think that in the classroom and being able to balance it and football has really helped me grow as a man. I really think that in one year, I have grown a lot.
Willett: What is one thing about you that might surprise people?
Walker: One thing that might surprise people is that I sang in the chorus in high school for four years. I try to keep that a secret from the football players.
Willett: How and what do you do to balance your academic workload and your football workload?
Walker: I think that the thing that I have found that works the most is when you are in football practice, be in football practice. And when you are out of football practice and in the classroom, be in the classroom. Never try to balance both of them at the same time. When it is time to work on one, just work and concentrate on that.
Willett: If you were stranded on an island and could only eat one meal, only listen to one song, and spend your time with only one person; what would you eat, what would you listen to and who would you pick?
Walker: The meal would definitely be cheesecake. The person would be Halle Berry and I probably would listen to some Marvin Gaye.
Willett: What is you favorite movie and why?
Walker: My favorite movie is Bad Boys II, because I am a big, big Will Smith fan.
Willett: Where is the toughest place that you’ve played as a college football player?
Walker: For me, the toughest place that I’ve played would definitely be Tennessee. It was so loud on the field there. It was kind of hard to hear all of the calls and see all of the reads.
Willett: What CD do you have in your collection that would surprise people?
Walker: Marvin Gaye.
Willett: What would a movie about your life be titled and who would star as you?
Walker: The movie would probably be titled “The All-Around Man.” Will Smith would definitely star in it.
Willett: Who is the best athlete that you have ever competed against?
Walker: There was a guy my freshman year that played for Commerce by the name of Monty Williams. We played against him every year and he was their running back. They beat us in the championship my freshman year. It was always a big rivalry. Every time we played them it was more of a game plan geared towards trying to stop him, but we never really could seem to do it.
Willett: If you had the chance to play golf with anyone in history, besides you, who else would be in your foursome and why would you pick those three people?
Walker: I would definitely have Michael Jordan in the foursome because he is one of the great ones. Next, I would choose Julius Caesar. I would have loved to meet him with his stature and power. Finally, I would want to have Herschel Walker in the foursome. He’s someone that I have always wanted to meet, but never had a chance. I broke his record in high school, so it would be cool to meet him.
Willett: Describe what it feels like on game day and playing at Notre Dame Stadium.
Walker: For me, it is very nerve racking. I think your heart beats 3,000 times a minute. It’s an incredible feeling and is kind of hard of describe. Playing here and coming out of that tunnel is just breath taking.
Willett: What is your favorite thing about playing for Notre Dame?
Walker: My favorite thing about playing at Notre Dame is the family feeling and family atmosphere around the game. That’s not only with the players and the coaches, but also the fans and other people not working directly with the team. A lot of people are behind us whether we are doing well or not. That’s a great feeling when we play at home at Notre Dame Stadium.