Athlete Spotlight: Tank Walker ‘17 - Springfield Central (MA) Football
by Ryan Kilian (@masspreps)
The Class of 2017 Massachusetts gridiron stars may go down as one of the strongest and deepest classes in recent decades in the Bay State. When you talk to coaches, media members and insiders alike, one name always comes up when it comes to explosive, athletic and gifted all around football talents in the class. That name…. is Tank.
Eriziah Jayrahn-Wallace Walker '17, or Tank Walker as he is referred to, is Springfield Central’s returning two-way, All-State star, who quarterbacks the Golden Eagles offense and provides elite lock-down coverage defensively, from his cornerback position.
Team: Walker returns to lead Springfield Central, who finished last season with a 9-2 record and a state semifinal finish. Along with fellow star teammate Coreese Everett ’17, and a host of others, Walker is focused on leading the Golden Eagles one day at a time.
“Our team goal is to pick up exactly where we left off from the last game of last season and then to continue to improve each day in practice,” Walker told Mass Prep Stars. “I am just keying in on getting the younger guys ready to play at this level and making sure everybody is in sync.”
Walker’s leadership comes from a determined and focused approach that has helped drive him on and off of the gridiron.
“Training was a huge focus this summer, as well as conditioning for the upcoming season,” Walker said. “I am hoping that my effort pays off and translates to the field.”
As a junior in 2015 the 6-foot-3, 180-pound Walker amassed nearly 1,900 total yards of offense from scrimmage to go with 22 touchdowns (12 passing, 10 rushing). On defense, Walker earned unanimous All-State status from his cornerback position. Walker's 15-for-20 passing for 476 yards and six touchdowns in two WMass playoff games earned him Western Mass. Division II Tournament MVP honors.
Off-Season & Recruiting: Walker, who also competed this offseason with the Mass Elite football program, has seen his recruiting pick up. With a laser focused eye on excelling on the gridiron this fall Walker has been hearing most, as of late, from UConn, Boston College, Coastal Carolina, and the University of Michigan.
The humble star expressed his gratitude for the schools recruiting him and expressed his desire to compete at an elite level.
“I'm praying that everything works out at the end of this year and I will be very grateful to every official offer that comes my way,” Walker said.
Family Pride: Springfield Central, led by coach Valdamar Brower and staff, have cemented the Golden Eagles program as one of the top programs in the state, year in and year out. Despite their success, they are often overlooked, being from the Western part of Massachusetts. The city of Springfield can often also be overlooked and sometimes portrayed in a negative light.
“You hear how people talk down on my city, but I have benefited from Springfield in many ways,” Walker explained. “It has given me football and given me a home. Central has been nothing but good to me and it has been a great blessing to be a part of a family of kids who share the same goals as me.”
An avid music lover and dancing aficionado, Walker credits his family for keeping him grounded.
“Even though things have not always been the smoothest, my family has always been there for me and I can't ask for a more loving family.” Walker said.
The Truth about TANK: It would be remiss if we did not inquire about how Walker earned his nickname, “Tank”. Was it from a crushing hit delivered from his defensive back position? Or maybe…. it was from a broken tackle (or eleven), as Walker dodged and evaded defenders.
We had to know!
“I have never really told anybody this, as I have always given people “off answers,” Walker admitted. “I was born Eriziah Jayrahn-Wallace Walker, but as you may know I am called Tank Walker. Everyone constantly asks me where “Tank” came from. The truth is it originates from "Stank-a-butt" which is a name my mom and dad gave me, when I was little, for the enormous amounts of the “No. 2’s” I would leave around the house. When I got to high school my uncle Julius used the name Tank consistently and it just stuck with friends, principals and teachers.
…… and there you have it.
Tank and Springfield Central will open their 2016 campaign on Friday, September 9th at 7 p.m. at home, against Rhode Island power La Salle Academy.
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