It was a moment Travon Walker will never forget.
The five-star out of Upson-Lee, a coveted prospect by most of the nation’s premier programs, was taking a per-usual visit on Georgia’s campus. When sitting in defensive coordinator Mel Tucker’s office, Walker saw a different side of the stoic coach.
“He turned on some Lil Baby,” Walker said, specifically referencing the rap hit “Yes Indeed.” “And started dancing.”
Those moments were what allowed Tucker to be one of Georgia’s vital recruiters and land some of the nation’s highest-regarded defensive names. Now, that’s gone from Athens.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The move for the Georgia defensive coordinator was announced by Colorado Tuesday afternoon. Colorado fired Mike MacIntyre at the conclusion of the season after the Buffaloes finished 5-7 and lost each of their games consecutively.
Walker committed to Georgia on July 24, and the Bulldogs have prioritized him for a significant period of time — nearly as Kirby Smart’s head-coaching tenure began. Since committing to the program, Walker has taken official visits to Florida and South Carolina.
Suddenly, those schools and other contenders could be back in the mix.
“It’ll all depend on if I can relate to the defensive coordinator,” Walker said on whether the change affects the pledge.
Walker sits second in the Bulldogs’ 2019 recruiting class with a rating of 0.988, according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings. He ranks as the fourth-overall player in the state of Georgia and the second-best defensive tackle nationally.
The only player above him is also a defensive player, Nolan Smith, who recently took visits to Alabama and Penn State. Smith, a Savannah native who attends IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., ranks as the top-overall player nationally.
He’s part of the third-best recruiting class nationally with 18 commits. Including Walker and Smith, the Bulldogs have 12 pledged prospects who are listed at defensive positions.
As might be expected, they’ve all discussed the news.
“We really liked Mel,” Walker said. “Our main focus is if we can have that vibe with whoever the new defensive coordinator is. We know the scheme won’t change.”
For Walker, it might be important to have the freedom to break out in dance moves in the future coach’s office.
“I need to be able to express anything with him,” Walker said. “It needs to be as if he’s a father figure to me — other than just football.”