Fayette's Walker right at home in Iowa
Sat. October 20, 2012 at 1:00 a.m. | By Barry Allen
Former Fayette County player Ja’Korey Walker has started all seven games at right guard for Iowa Wesleyan this season. (Photo by Iowa Wesleyn)
Ja’Korey Walker is more than 600 miles from his hometown of Fayette, but playing college football for the Iowa Wesleyan Tigers in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, almost feels like home.
Mount Pleasant is located in the southeast corner of Iowa and is the county seat for Henry County. The population is just a little more than 8,500, which gives Walker that small town feel he grew up with.
"It’s a lot like Fayette actually," Walker said. "It’s a small town. It’s a little bigger than Fayette with about 8,500 people. So, it wasn’t a big culture change for me. It is exactly like home, except it’s a whole lot colder."
Walker played three seasons for legendary head coach Walden Tucker at Fayette County High School. He was a backup offensive lineman as a sophomore and then became a starter as junior and senior.
He was recruited by North Alabama, Alabama State and Middle Tennessee State but none of them offered him a scholarship. As signing day approached, he turned to former Lamar County High School standout Jimmy Lann, who steered him to Iowa Wesleyan College.
"We were not close friends but I knew of him," Walker said of his relationship with Lann. "We had played against one another and this is a not a real big area here, so pretty much everybody knows one another.
"I didn’t really have any offers and I was looking for a place to play, so I talked to (Jimmy) and he told me it was a nice place. I contacted (then head coach Kent Anderson) and things went from there. I sent him some video and he made me an offer to play and I jumped on it."
Walker spent the 2011 season as a redshirt offensive lineman in the Tigers’ spread offense. At the end of the season, Anderson took another job and was replaced by Tom Parkevich, who brought more of a running style offense to Iowa Wesleyan.
"Last year we ran the spread offense and threw the football on every play," Walker said. "This year, we have a new coach and now we have a new offense and we try and run the ball a lot more. We run the pistol a lot. We actually have an all-conference quarterback and all-conference receiver, who was a preseason All-American, so obviously we try and get him the ball. We try to run the ball first."
Walker feels the new offense best fits his personality.
"I like run-blocking the most," he said. "It gives me a chance to show my aggressiveness and my drive. Pass-blocking is big part of the game but it’s not my favorite part. My favorite part is being able to hit people.
"In pass blocking there are other offensive linemen to help you. In run-blocking its man-on-man and the one that wins is the one with the bigger heart. That is one thing I pride myself in is having a big heart and not giving up on anything."
Walker has started all seven games at right guard for the Tigers, who have struggled to a 1-6 record this season.