Von Walker was the epitome of what a walk-on player can be; with only a few leftover letters, his name can be rearranged to spell walk-on. When he arrived in Happy Valley, during the lean years of the early Bill O’Brien days, he was called a run-on.
By his junior season the team called him captain, and he was one of just a handful of Penn State players to ever hold that honor for two years. He was a special teams ace after coming to State College as a running back, then switching to linebacker. In high school Walker played quarterback and defensive back. There wasn’t much that Walker wasn’t asked to do, including giving a speech to 100,000 people, on the spur of the moment, following Penn State’s win versus Michigan State that clinched a trip to the Big Ten Championship game.
Here is what Walker had to say about the experience.
“So there was like a minute and 30 seconds left in the game, and (director of football operations Michael) Hazel came up to me and said, “Hey, Coach Franklin wants you to talk after the game.” In my mind, I’m like, “OK, yeah, I can talk to the team. Whatever.” And he’s like, “Yeah, we’re bringing a stage out.” He jokes around a lot, so I thought he was just messing with me. He’s like, “No seriously, they’re bringing a stage out and you’re going to talk to everybody.” So until it actually happened, I didn’t know what I was going to say. I actually didn’t even believe I was going to be talking to a whole entire stadium. But it got really real really fast. I kind of just winged it. I think it turned out to be all right. But it was one of those spur-of-the-moment things where you’re about to talk to 100,000 people; think of something. It was weird, though, because I was talking to everybody, but it was almost like there was too many people to even fathom. So it was almost easier, feeling like I was only talking to a couple of people.”
Walker was injured the week prior versus Rutgers, covering a punt, and missed the MSU game, the B1G Championship, and the Rose Bowl. He appeared in 46 games over his career, an impressive feat for a walk/run-on.
The Lock Haven product played his high school ball at Central Mountain High School.
25 more days until kickoff!