PowerMizzou - Three-star DE Arden Walker picks Mizzou over Pac-12 teams
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Three-star DE Arden Walker picks Mizzou over Pac-12 teams

Arden Walker
Arden Walker

THE SITUATION: Arden Walker has 20 offers but the high three-star defensive end from Greenwood Village (Colo.) Cherry Creek essentially narrowed his choices to three in recent weeks with Colorado, Missouri and UCLA making the cut. Walker has had a relationship with the Missouri coaches going back a few years and playing in the SEC has been a draw. UCLA has recruited Walker hard and he likes the idea of playing for coach Chip Kelly, playing in the Pac-12 and having that mix of academics and athletics. There was some uncertainty around Colorado earlier in his recruitment but Walker has talked plenty with the new coaching staff, the Buffaloes' success is intriguing and staying close to home is also a major bonus as Walker worked toward a decision.

WHY IT'S BIG FOR MISSOURI: Walker had developed an outstanding relationship with defensive line coach Brick Haley and it paid off on National Signing Day as the three-star defensive end picked the Tigers over Colorado and UCLA, two Pac-12 schools that pushed hard for his commitment in the final days. Walker is a long, athletic player who can also play in space and he should add weight in a college program so it’s a big pickup for the Tigers to hold off the two other programs for someone who could have a big impact in the coming years off the edge.

WHO IT HURTS THE MOST: Colorado needs to be able to recruit in-state talent and five of the top six players from there have committed elsewhere. That’s going to be an ongoing obstacle that coach Karl Dorrell and his staff will need to figure out to find success. UCLA put in a lot of work with Walker as well and it looked like the Bruins had a chance here but playing in the SEC and for a school that has performed well this season along with the relationships built at Missouri put the Tigers over the edge.

PLAYER BREAKDOWN: Walker is a long, athletic defensive end who can play with his hand down or move around in space as an edge rusher/outside linebacker. He can track players to the sideline and make plays there and he has an excellent motor up the middle to attack players in the backfield and pressure the quarterback. Walker will need to add strength in a college program to be even more dominant and get off blocks but in the coming years that shouldn’t be an issue since he has the frame to allow it.