Make three out-of-gate commitments in three days for Arkansas football, as defensive back Alfahiym Walcott announced his commitment on Sunday afternoon.
A two-year starter and All-Big 12 winner for the Bears, Walcott originally planned to make his final decision during the week and after a visit to Florida. Instead, he had seen everything he needed to see on an official visit to Fayetteville and pulled the trigger early.
“The community here is a tight-knit community,” Walcott said. “I have the impression that it is a school where I could evolve. I only have a year left, so I could evolve around a group of coaches who can help me take it to the next level. … The head coach and all the coaches here show a lot of love and I really appreciate that. That’s what I look for in a school.
The North Carolina native and JUCO product also visited Texas A&M before moving to the Razorbacks, but he said the pitch he got from new defensive coordinator Travis Williams and co-defensive coordinator Marcus Woodson really caught his eye. Warning.
“Since they called me, I knew Arkansas was a place I wanted to visit,” Walcott said. “These guys are really genuine. They’ve kept it real with me since the jump, since the first call. I really think they could develop me for the next level and prepare me for there.
Walcott was listed as a senior on Baylor’s roster this season, but can play as a super senior in 2023 due to the eligibility waiver granted by the NCAA to all college football players during the amended 2020 season. pandemic. He also always has his red shirt available.
The Razorbacks have now landed seven transfers this offseason, with Walcott trailing South Florida linebacker Antonio Grier Jr. and cornerback Lorando Johnson — Walcott’s former Baylor teammate — over the past two days.
Florida offensive lineman Joshua Braun, North Carolina quarterback Jacolby Criswell and Texas A&M-Commerce wide receiver Andrew Armstrong and Pittsburgh defensive end John Morgan III were each announced by UA at the beginning of the signing period.
Alfahiym Walcott at Baylor
A virtual unknown graduating from Laney High School in Wilmington, North Carolina in the class of 2019, Alfahiym Walcott has not been evaluated by major recruiting services and has not reported any offers.
This led him to go the JUCO route and a year at Butler CC in Kansas completely changed his recruiting. Rivals named him a two-star prospect and 247Sports considered him a weak three-star recruit, but he still received numerous offers and made official visits to SMU and Auburn before finally signing with Baylor on the traditional 2020 National Signing Day.
In his first season with the Bears, Walcott was primarily a special teams contributor and actually ranked well thanks to three tackles as part of kickoff and punt coverage units.
Last year, he missed the first two games of the season before working his way into the starting lineup and starting as a cornerback in the final eight games of Baylor’s 12-win campaign. He had three interceptions, including one he returned 96 yards for a touchdown in the Bears’ 21-7 victory over Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl – a record for the prestigious bowl.
As Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Jalen Pitre moved to the NFL, Walcott rose from cornerback to Baylor’s STAR position, or nickel back, and started every regular season game this year. .
Although he had only one interception, he was second on the team with 82 tackles – a total that included a team-high 10 tackles for loss. He also forced three fumbles and had four pass breakups.
“I’m a physical guy,” Walcott said. “I like to be physical. That’s what I mean. Then I’m a guy who’s going to bring that leadership role. I don’t accept mediocrity.
Those numbers earned him second-team All-Big 12 honors in the AP and led him to finish with a solid Pro Football Focus rating of 75.0 on 721 defensive snaps. That mark was tied with fellow Arkansas transfer Lorando Johnson for third-best on Baylor’s defense (min. 50 snaps).
It’s also worth noting that Walcott did all of this despite playing the majority of the season with one club and suffering a cast on his right forearm due to a camp injury. fall that required surgery.
For the second consecutive offseason, the Razorbacks landed a pair of teammates from the transfer portal, as they secured defensive end Landon Jackson and cornerback Dwight McGlothern from LSU last year.
The fact that it was a pair of defensive backs this cycle – Alfahiym Walcott and Lorenzo Johnson from Baylor – isn’t much of a surprise as Sam Pittman hasn’t shied away from his plans to get help with his secondary through the portal.
Arkansas desperately needs help in the back of its defense after giving up the most passing yards in both FBS this year and in school history, allowing 294.7 yards in tunes per game.
Improving coverage skills will also be key in new defensive coordinator Travis Williams’ system, as Pittman said it involves more front fours and one-on-one coverage in an effort to rush the passer.
Along with replacing Jalen Catalon, Simeon Blair and Latavious Brini at safety, the Razorbacks are also on the hunt for a new nickel, after the oft-injured Myles Slusher left the team ahead of the regular season finale at the Missouri and hit the portal.
If he stays in the position he played at Baylor this season, Walcott could become the starting nickel in 2023. His top competitors would likely be Jayden Johnson and Jaylen Lewis, who spent time at the nickel this year.
However, there’s also a chance it could be a similar situation to Brini, who was a starting nickel in Georgia but moved to Arkansas for the opportunity to play it safe. Walcott started as a cornerback for the Bears in 2021.
Who is next from the transfer portal
The current transfer portal window closes on January 18, but that is only the entry deadline for players. They can leave the portal – committing to a new school or retiring – at any time.
However, to get the spring ball rolling, transfers need to sign up for classes very soon. In Arkansas, classes begin January 17.
Even after Alfahiym Walcott’s commitment, the Razorbacks still have between 11 and 14 purses to fill on next year’s roster, so the next couple of weeks could see a lot more transfer action announcing their move decision. play in Arkansas.
In fact, there’s a chance that Walcott and Lorando Johnson will be joined by another former high school Baylor teammate. Cornerback Mike Harris — who was actually committed to Arkansas at one point in high school — was also scheduled to visit Fayetteville this week. Getting three transfers into the same job group of the same program in the same year would indeed be a rarity.
Other players the Razorbacks welcomed during the January 4-8 special visiting window for transfers include Arizona State defensive back DJ Taylor, a pair of tight ends – Jake Roberts of the North Texas and Notre Dame’s Cane Berrong — and a trio of wide receivers: Oregon’s Dont’e Thornton, South Florida’s Xavier Weaver and Division II Hillsdale College’s Isaac TeSlaa.
More football coverage from Arkansas and the BoAS transfer portal…