UGA football roster: Quay Walker is the next big thing at linebacker

UGA football has an opening at inside linebacker, but it’ll be hard for any player to beat out junior Quay Walker for the starting job.

Quay Walker. Get used to hearing that name. The former borderline-five-star linebacker has done nothing but impress UGA football coaches since arriving in Athens three years ago. He’s a virtual unknown on the national stage right now, but the junior from Cordele is primed for a breakout season.

Walker’s career began humbly on special teams in 2018, but he relished in the entry-level role, becoming a co-winner of Georgia’s Special Teams Newcomer of the Year Award. After being overshadowed by younger and older players last summer, he had a solid season as a backup and earned even more hardware from the team. This time, he was a co-winner of the Defensive Most Improved Player Award.

With 27 games played and two postseason team awards under his belt, Walker’s stock is one to invest heavily in. At 6-4 and 240 lbs., Walker is an imposing inside linebacker who has already shown an ability to make plays all over the field.

Quay Walker excels against the run and as a blitzer. He’s a great athlete and he uses his impressive size very well to break through blocks. He doesn’t stop impressing after breaking through blockers. He can already stop almost any running back in their tracks and he’s ferocious in pursuit of quarterbacks. Walker ended last season with eight quarterback pressures and one sack.

He still has some work to do this offseason. To be the inside linebacker Georgia wants him to be, Walker needs to improve in pass coverage. He’s great at dissecting running plays, but he needs to do the same against the pass and prevent passes from being completed in his area.

With the trajectory Walker has been on, there’s little doubt he’ll complete his game in 2020. Pro Football Network even thinks Walker can enter the draft after this season if he stays on that trajectory. Before he can think about the NFL, Walker has to compete against Channing Tindall and Nakobe Dean for a starting inside linebacker job.