In the movie, ‘Hoosiers’ coach Norman Dale said:
“If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don’t care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book we’re gonna be winners.”
Hopewell running back Ronnie Walker has put his effort and concentration to reaching his potential- in both the classroom and on the football field.
As a result of that work, Walker verbally committed to to play football at Indiana on Monday.
“I could see myself there for four years,” said Walker to WRIC 8. “It was a very difficult decision but I liked that Indiana has a 100 percent graduation rate on their football team.”
Walker said he plans to enroll early (hence the early announcement) and plans to major in engineering.
While Indiana is better known for its rich basketball history, they have have had four NFL athletes drafted since 2014- wide receiver Cody Latimer (Denver), running back Tevin Coleman (Atlanta), quarterback Nate Sudfield (Washington) and running back Jordan Howard, who had a breakout season with the Chicago Bears in 2016, rushing for 1,313 yards and six touchdowns.
Coach Ricky Irby is proud of his running back’s well-rounded approach. Academics have always been first for the Hopewell star. Irby pointed out that his grade point average rivals his 40-yard dash time.
“He’s a an even better person than he is a football player,” coach Ricky Irby told WRIC 8 in an interview.
Walker becomes the second Hopewell recruit to commit to an FBS school in the past three years, including defensive end Darrell Taylor, who’s a redshirt sophomore at Tennessee.
Recruits such as Taylor and Walker have helped pave the way for Hopewell’s program to grow. For one, the chances of working to earn a college scholarship attract young athletes to the practice fields of the Tri-Cities school.
“When kids see athletes like Darrell Taylor, Ronnie Walker and [quarterback] Greg Cuffey, they want that same opportunity to play football and get an education,” Irby said.
Hopewell is one of four area teams to win double-digit games in each of the past two seasons, joining Hermitage, Highland Springs and L.C. Bird. In both 2015 and 2015, the Blue Devils advanced to the 3A state quarterfinals. Walker rushed for 2,011 yards as a junior.
Walker’s younger brother, a freshman, Tre’veyon Henderson also holds an offer to Indiana.