Atmosphere helps Arizona land WR Walker

The new coaching staff at Arizona hasn’t had an opportunity to prove itself on the field, but the group, led by head coach Rich Rodriguez, continues to put together a tremendously successful summer. The latest addition to the Wildcats’ ever-growing class of 2013 is wide receiver Lawrence Walker (San Diego/Madison).

Before his unofficial visit to Arizona early this week, the 6-foot, 166-pound Walker had an idea about where he would eventually commit. While on campus, the thought of committing to the Wildcats moved from probable to perfect.

“I wanted to commit, but I waited until the end so I could see everything, like the new facilities they are getting,” Walker said. “Something big is about to go down in Wildcat territory and I want to be a part of it. Everything was perfect.”

The trip gave Walker an idea of what he could see at his future home, but he said the biggest impression was made by what he experienced between the players and the coaches.

“I just wanted to see if they were a family,” Walker said. “I had to see it for myself. The receivers coach asked where we were from and what type of family environment we were looking for. I haven’t been recruited by a lot of people, but I’d never been asked that by a coach. I could see they care.”

That relationship goes all the way to the top, and was something Walker was able to experience on his trip as well.

“Coach Rodriguez, you can tell he cares about his players,” Walker said. “I committed and he gave me a hug. We took a bunch of pictures and it looked like a wedding for a minute.”

Walker said he had a chance to watch the Wildcats practice and was struck by how much of the playbook he already knew.

“We run that spread offense and I could tell what the routes would be by the calls,” Walker said. “I might have known the playbook better than some of the new guys on the team, so I won’t really be out of the loop when I get there.”

As a junior, Walker caught 21 passes for 572 yards and seven touchdowns and registered 48 tackles and four interceptions on defense. He said his future at Arizona is on offense, with some special-teams return duties as well. He is verbal commitment No. 23 for the Wildcats’ class of 2013 and the 10th commitment from California.

Walker said he will likely be back on the Arizona campus for an official visit that could take place in December.