Liberty County defensive tackle Taishon Walls signed a letter of intent Wednesday to play for Tuskegee (Ala.) University.
Walls, who plans to study sports management, said he knew Tuskegee was interested but was caught completely off-guard when he received the offer and letter.
“This is a big relief,” he said. “I didn’t expect this to happen, so I feel so blessed.”
Walls tallied 51 solo tackles, 67 total tackles, five sacks and forced four fumbles this past season. He was a Coastal Courier Player of the Week recipient and exceeded Panther coach Kirk Warner’s expectations this year.
“I think he brings a pretty good work ethic, and I think his best football is ahead of him,” Warner said. “He started a little bit later in the weight room, but he came on strong.”
Walls is the fifth Panther who was offered by Tuskegee in the past few years. Brothers Trier, Aaron and Jevan Bennett, as well as Jevon Jones, were on the Golden Tigers’ 2012 roster. Trier Bennett was the lone senior of the group.
Warner said these former Panthers helped pave the way for players like Walls.
“They did what they were supposed to do when they got there, and it opened the door for our future players, like Taishon, and gave them an opportunity. It’s paying dividends,” Warner said.
Walls said having friends on campus makes him feel better.
“That comfort level is there,” he said. “You have people you know, so you don’t feel lost.”
“It’s a blessed day. I’m happy and proud,” Walls’ father Andre Smith said. “I knew he could accomplish this.”
Walls’ mother Tawanna Smith said having her son leave the house will be a big change and will feel different, “but I know he will do the best he can.”
“I knew we would see this day. It was a challenge, but we got here and it’s one of the best days of my life,” she said.