One of Arkansas’ best recruiting classes of all time was in 1975 and included three linemen from Central Arkansas.
They all turned out pretty well.
Jimmy Walker, No. 33 on Fox Sports Arkansas’ list of favorite Razorbacks, wasn’t one of the most heralded. In fairness, the other two — Dan Hampton of Jacksonville and Dale White from Benton — weren’t exactly highly-touted recruits, either.
Two of the three (Walker and Hampton) developed into All-Americans and White had a solid career as a noseguard.
To explain how different things were, Walker had not even been offered by Hogs coach Frank Broyles until after the high school All-Star game in August. He was one of the most valuable players in the game from his tackle position.
That surprised a lot of folks as Walker came in a little larger than expected.
“He ate himself up to about 280 pounds over the summer,” Hampton said a couple of years ago. “He was still hard to block.”
It actually wasn’t 280, more like a tick mark under 250, but still 30 pounds over what Walker played at Little Rock Central. His play in the game got the scholarship at Arkansas in a time when teams could sign 35 players and have 105 scholarship players on the roster.
During Walker’s four years as a Razorback, it was one of the best in school history, going 35-10-2, including wins in the Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl and a tie against UCLA in the Fiesta Bowl on Christmas Day in 1978, where Walker was named defensive MVP.
He was named All-American in 1978 and All-Southwest Conference in 1977-78.
Along with all of that talent, he was helped by one of the best coaching staffs in school history with his position coaches being Jimmy Johnson (long before he reached the heights even he probably didn’t imagine then) and Monte Kiffin.