Tim Walton was a surprise visitor to the Syracuse University campus this weekend, but the trip to Central New York made enough of an impression on the middle linebacker prospect that he decided to flip his commitment from Illinois to the Orange. Walton is the second middle linebacker to join this year’s class, joining Kenneth Ruff. And just like that, the staff went 9-for-9 on reeling in weekend visitors.

To say it’s a highly successful run for Dino Babers and his staff is an understatement, and Walton continues some strong momentum heading into the final full week of recruiting before National Signing Day on February 3. The 6-foot-2, 225 pound prospect is rated 3-stars by Scout, 247Sports, and Rivals. Rivals rates the Detroit native as the 29th best middle linebacker in the nation, while Scout projects him as an outside linebacker and rates him as the 12th best OLB prospect in the Midwest.

Between his size and skills, however, I would expect him to remain in the middle. He’s a big, physical player who would be ready to step in and play immediately if needed, based purely on his already imposing stature. And watching his film, it’s easy to see why defensive coordinator Brian Ward would like Walton for his Tampa 2 defense.

One of the key skills needed by a middle linebacker in the Tampa 2 is the ability to drop back into coverage and help against the pass, and Walton seems to excel in this area. Some of the first plays highlighted in his film involve him dropping back and making excellent reads against the pass, coming away first with an interception and then making a terrific play on a pass over the middle to break it up by getting a hand up to deflect it.

Walton also shows great burst through the line, exploding into the backfield to make stops behind the line of scrimmage. His pursuit looks terrific, too, and he does a nice job bringing ballcarriers down once he gets to them. Walton had additional offers from a host of smaller programs in addition to Syracuse and Illinois, with Cincinnati, Western Michigan, Navy, Buffalo, Toledo, and a few other schools offering. Frankly, I’m a bit stunned more high profile programs weren’t after him based on viewing his film. Walton has a chance to be an excellent and highly productive player at the next level and is a terrific pick up for the Orange.

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Jeff is a 2003 graduate of Syracuse University, and has been published on various websites including,,,, and, among others. His work was featured in the New York Times bestselling book You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News. He's got a wife, and a toddler he's brainwashing to love Syracuse. Jeff's a pretty great guy, overall, and would never steal your car. Follow him on Twitter: @jekelish


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