The 90 Illini #71: LaKeith Walls June 22, 2012
6′-2″, 195 lbs.
True Freshman (on scholarship, 5 years to play 4)
Rhodes HS / Cleveland, OH
ALE Ranking last year: NR
What I Know About Him:
Walls was a late flip in the 2012 class. Originally verballed to NC State, Tim Beckman’s Cleveland connections earned a late visit and a final week switch. He had a fair number of BCS offers (Cincy, Iowa, Louisville, Pitt, etc), with some of the schools looking at him as a running back and some seeing him as an outside linebacker.
For Illinois, he’s slated for tailback first. My guess is that we’ll have two stables of tailbacks – power backs and speed backs. For the power backs, which I will now refer to as Thunderbacks because it sounds like an 80′s cartoon, it’s Donovonn Young backed up by Walls. For the speed backs (Lightning Crew? Flash Force? I’ll stop), it’s Josh Ferguson backed up by Devin Church. And then there’s some hybrid backs (smaller guys who are more Thunderback than Insane Bolts, like Dami Ayoola and Ean Days), who will fill in the gaps.
What I Expect From Him:
Because there are no seniors and no juniors at tailback, one of the freshmen will play right away. I’m guessing it’s Ayoola, who is probably the most polished of the freshmen. But there’s a chance it could be Walls, who has the size and athleticism to possibly make a difference right away.
If I had to bet, though, I’d say Walls redshirts. You know the drill: learns the offense, sleeps in the weight room, gets accustomed to going to class and studying and lifting and everything else required of a student athlete, and then gets ready to take some minutes as a redshirt freshman. Thunderback powers, activate.