Deone Walker named a semifinalist for the Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Award
Kentucky defensive lineman Deone Walker received national recognition throughout the college football community when he was named one of the semifinalists in consideration for this year’s Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Award. Now in its fifth season in existence, Shaun Alexander’s namesake trophy is awarded to–you guessed it–the best freshman in college football each year. Its list of past winners is Brock Bowers (Georgia, 2021), Will Anderson Jr. (Alabama, 2020), Kenneth Gainwell (Memphis, 2019) and Trevor Lawrence (Clemson, 2018).
This year, Kentucky’s Walker is one of 14 semifinalists for the award for his play in all eight of Kentucky’s games to date. The 6-foot-6, 330-pound defensive tackle has totaled 20 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, two quarterback hurries and two pass breakups in his debut fall for Brad White’s defense, earning him a midyear promotion to a starting role.
Earlier this season, On3 named Walker to its Midseason Freshman All-American Team.
Deone Walker’s immediate playmaking
Prior to the loss in Knoxville, KSR’s Adam Luckett wrote how Deone Walker is giving Kentucky some needed DL playmaking. In there, Luckett noted Walker, at the time, played the most snaps (251) on Kentucky’s defensive line with team highs in pressures (14), pressure rate (10.1%), tackles (17), non-sack tackles for loss (2), run stuffs (3.5), and pass breakups (2).
Overall, the former top-300 recruit out of Detroit has been outstanding so far in his rookie season and will likely be in the mix for more than the Shaun Alexander Award later this fall.