We have just a few players remaining in our Penn State player previews for the 2014 season. Our next man up on the defensive side has gone through three position changes in two seasons. Von Walker will look to help make an impact wherever he lines up on the field this season.
The sophomore saw time in 11 games last season as a true freshman, missing the contest against Nebraska with an injury. He came into Penn State as a running back, but was buried on the depth chart behind Akeel Lynch, Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak. Midway through the season, former head coach Bill O’Brien moved Walker to safety.
Coming out of Central Mountain High School in Mill Hall, PA, Walker wasn’t heavily recruited. He grew up just a short drive from Happy Valley and realized the dream of playing for the Nittany Lions.
Walker proved to be a versatile player last season and was a valuable member on special teams. He returned six kickoffs for a total of 99 yards and four punts for 19 yards. He also used his skill on kick and punt coverage, getting down the field and making important tackles.
This season, Walker has been moved to a third position, linebacker. The Nittany Lions face depth issues at that position due to injuries and the graduation Glenn Carson. Mike Hull has been moved to the middle to fill the hole left by Carson. That opens the door for several players to nab the two outside linebacker positions.
With as much as Walker will be on the field between defense and special teams, he’ll have opportunities to put up numbers. Something around 15 tackles and a total of a least two hundred return yards sounds reasonable.