TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – DeMarcus Walker has had an eventful few weeks since Florida State’s regular season ended last month.
A parade of accolades and awards for Florida State’s senior defensive end started on Nov. 30, when he was named the Atlantic Coast Conference’s defensive player of the year.
A few days later, Walker earned places on All-America teams from Sporting News, Walter Camp and the American Football Coaches Association – three of the five “major” All-America teams and enough to become the 38th consensus All-American in FSU history.
Finally, on Friday, Walker enjoyed what he considers his crowning achievement: graduating from Florida State with a degree in social sciences.
“I’ve got my cap and gown ready,” Walker said Friday, just hours before walking across the stage at the Donald L. Tucker Center. “I’m ready to take in the moment and get my degree.”
Walker’s mother, Cynthia, made the trip to Tallahassee to see her son walk at commencement ceremonies.
And when asked what made him more proud – ACC defensive player of the year honors or graduating – Walker didn’t hesitate: “Graduating,” he said.
Not that he necessarily has to choose.
With his degree in hand, Walker can reflect on one of the best senior seasons ever by a Florida State defensive end.
Walker’s 15 sacks are tied for the most in the country, and he leads a relentless FSU pass rush that also tops the nation in total sacks.
Along the way, Walker has placed his name alongside some of the great defenders in school history. His 27.5 career sacks are third-most on FSU’s all-time list, behind only the All-America tandem of Peter Boulware and Reinard Wilson.
Only fitting, then, that Walker joined them with consensus All-America honors of his own.
“I go into the summer and write down goals,” he said. “The best feeling ever is achieving those goals.”
And then, in the same breath, Walker said, “I’m still not done. I’ve still got one game left.”
Indeed, in his collegiate finale, Walker ought to be at the center of an Orange Bowl matchup that features two of the country’s top pass rushes.
Walker and the Seminoles rank first nationally with 47 sacks. FSU’s opponent, the Michigan Wolverines, are right behind with 44 sacks (fourth nationally).
That sounds just fine to Walker, who said he expects a physical, hard-hitting game on Dec. 30.
“I believe this will be an old-school game,” he said. “That Dick Butkus-, Jack Lambert-type of football.”
Asked if he prefers Michigan’s traditional, pro-style offense to the spread attacks FSU usually sees in the ACC, Walker smiled and answered, “Heck yeah.
“That’s what I was raised in.”