football Edit

South Carolina OT commit likes Auburn

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One thing has become clear: South Carolina found a gem.

When Issiah Walker committed to the Gamecocks last May, he didn't have quite the recruiting attention he does now. Walker wasn't even raked by Rivals in the Florida state rankings. That has changed in the last year, and it's only trending that way more and more by the week. Walker has the makings of a potential top-150 player at offensive tackle.

Now 6-foot-4 and 302 pounds, Walker has caught the attention of much more than just Will Muschamp & Co.

This calendar year, he has picked up offers from Ohio State, LSU, Florida State, Miami and Penn State. He added another earlier this week when Auburn — a team Walker has been interested in throughout the process — added its name to his offer sheeet.

"Coach [J.B.] Grimes called my coach. He had watched my tape again. He said he liked me, so he offered me," Walker said.

This wasn't the first time Walker had heard from Grimes, but this one was the most memorable.

The Norland (Fla.) offensive tackle has been in talks with the Auburn's offensive line coach for a few weeks now. Walker said he likes how Grimes "goes about his business" with more of a family approach than other assistants he's met. Grimes and Walker haven't been on an every-day contact calendar.

But that communication is likely to increase with the offer.

"Well, the communication hasn't been that much, but we've been texting over the last couple weeks. We've been talking about how I'm doing, how practice is going, things like that," Walker said. "They just say I look good. It was funny. I told them I actually weight 302. And coach Grimes was like, 'You sure don't look 302. You move too good to be 302.' They were talking about that on my film, how athletic I look, stuff like that."

So, what effect does this offer — and others — have on Walker?

"Oh it affects it," Walker said. "At this time in my recruitment, I'm still open to other schools even though I'm still committed. I just want to make sure my last decision at the end of my senior season is going to be the right decision."

Walker will go on an unofficial visit tour this summer. His high school generally does that together, but he will take any additional trips he sees necessary. Auburn will definitely be part of that list for unofficial visits, and — even though Walker won't set official visits until the fall — the Tigers are front-runners to land one of his five official visits, as well.

Walker will be an early enrollee.

"I'm just enjoying the process right now. I want to take as many unofficial visits as I can so I can build that bond with the coaches and feel comfortable with them," Walker said. "I'm just taking things as they go right now."