In which BracketCat counts down the 51st day until the 2019 kickoff with a profile of Kansas State defensive end Reggie Walker.
#51 Reggie Walker
Redshirt Senior | 6-2 | 250 lbs. | Ponchatoula, Louisiana
- Position: Defensive End
- Previous College: None
- Projection: Starter
- Status: On Scholarship
Reginald Ngozi Walker (b. April 22, 1996) is an athletic defensive end who shined as a redshirt freshman and has logged 34 starts during his first three seasons. He should easily keep his starting job while looking to take his game to another level in 2019.
Walker now has eight career forced fumbles to tie for third in school history — one shy of the school record — and tie for second nationally among active players.
He also has 16 career sacks and now sits just two more sacks away from entering the school’s top-10 list, while his 30 tackles for loss are nine shy of entering the record book.
Walker chose the Wildcats over offers from Arkansas, Southern Miss and Texas Tech. He battled heavily for playing time as a true freshman before eventually redshirting in 2015.
In 2016, Walker gave us all hope for life after Jordan Willis, playing in all 13 games with 11 starts, and collecting 11.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks to earn Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year accolades from the league’s coaches and ESPN.com, in addition to Freshman All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America and Campus Insiders.
He became the first Wildcat since 2000 to earn the Big 12’s top defensive freshman honor.
Walker’s 6.5 sacks were the most by a K-State freshman in 32 years. He finished seventh in the Big 12 in sacks and eighth in tackles for loss, but was tops among freshmen in both categories. He also ranked fourth nationally among freshmen in sacks.
Walker also finished second in school history in sacks and tackles for loss among freshmen.
He had a particularly stellar end to the season, totaling 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks over the final four games, which included a career-best two sacks at TCU.
Walker carded tackles for loss in six of his final nine games, including a career-high 2.5 at both Baylor and TCU. He also had two tackles for loss against Texas Tech.
Walker set a career best with six tackles against Oklahoma, while he had five against both Stanford and Texas A&M. He also forced three fumbles on the year, in addition to two fumble recoveries and two passes defended.
Walker tied for second nationally among freshmen in forced fumbles, while he was tied for 30th overall and tied for third in the Big 12.
Understandably, Walker suffered from diminished production and a bit of a sophomore slump in 2017, which was to be expected after losing a running mate such as Jordan Willis.
He still started all 12 games he played, totaling 36 tackles, six tackles for loss and a pair of sacks as he earned second-team All-Big 12 accolades from the league’s coaches, as well as third-team recognition from Phil Steele.
Walker registered 12 tackles, four tackles for loss and two sacks over a two-game span against Kansas and Texas Tech. He logged a career-best seven tackles against both Oklahoma and Texas Tech.
Walker also forced a fumble against TCU and blocked his first career field goal against Baylor. He then entered 2018 on the preseason watch lists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Ted Hendricks Award.
Walker played in every game in 2018, with 11 starts, finishing the year with 35 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. He also finished with four more forced fumbles and a pair of pass breakups.
Walker led the Big 12 and ranked 10th nationally in forced fumbles last year, and he also ranked sixth in the conference in sacks and tied for eighth in tackles for loss.
He had 6.5 of his sacks and 10.5 of his tackles for loss during Big 12 play to tie for third and fourth in the conference in league-only games, respectively, and set a career high with 3.0 tackles for loss against Texas Tech, a game that also featured a career-high-tying two sacks.
Walker tallied a three-game stretch with at least one sack against Texas (2.0), Baylor (1.5) and Oklahoma State (1.0), the longest such streak by a Wildcat since 2013. He collected a season-high six tackles against Texas Tech and followed that with five stops at Iowa State.
Walker batted away passes against South Dakota and TCU, and once again was named to the watch list for the Ted Hendricks Award entering the 2019 season.
Walker played under head coach Hank Tierney at Ponchatoula High School, where he helped the Green Wave to earn an 11-2 record and a trip to the Louisiana Class 5A state playoffs.
An all-state player who was a two-time all-district performer and district Most Valuable Player as a senior, Walker also competed in basketball and baseball. His brother, Robert, previously played football at Mississippi State.
Source: Bring on the Cats