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Notre Dame Football Weis-Era Favorites: Darius Walker

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The former Notre Dame RB is near the top of many all-time statistical categories despite forgoing his senior year.

NCAA Football - 2007 AllState Sugar Bowl - Notre Dame vs LSU Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Coming out of high school, Darius Walker was a highly regarded recruit from the state of Georgia. For good reason; in high school Walker broke the record of 42 touchdowns in a season set by none other than Herschel Walker, and was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Georgia as well as a Georgia prep player of the year for 2003 according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

He first made his mark as a Notre Dame Football player in his freshman year, which happened to be Tyrone Willingham’s final year as coach, registering 786 yards and seven touchdowns. He was a bright spot and cause for optimism, along with young quarterback Brady Quinn. Many felt that the future of the program hinged only upon who would end up filling the vacancy left by Willingham’s departure.

It was then announced that Notre Dame had found their guy. In 2005, Charlie Weis famously brought his schematic advantage to South Bend, and many folks forget how well it worked at first. Walker would account for the very first touchdown of the Weis era:

Walker would go on to rush for over 1,000 yards in both his sophomore and senior season. He owns the school record for most receptions in a season by a running back with 56 catches in 2006, as well as the most career receptions for a running back with 109. His 3,249 yards for his career ranks fourth all-time; he averaged over 90 yards per game.

Walker’s last game was perhaps his best, despite it being the infamous 2007 Sugar Bowl. In a 41-14 defeat at the hands of the LSU Tigers, Walker registered 128 yards rushing and 20 yards receiving. A week after the game, he announced his intention to forego his senior season in favor of the NFL. Speculation swirled regarding an argument between Weis and Walker at half time of that game and whether or not that contributed to Walker’s decision to leave, but nothing was ever confirmed.

Walker would go on to spend time with the Houston Texans, Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys in the NFL, but never as a meaningful contributor. He left the NFL in 2009 to join the Mountain West Network as an analyst, and can now be seen on Fox sports. Take a look at his reel below.

Not too shabby. After all, Walker was not only known for his ground game at Notre Dame, but also for his sense of humor and charisma.