Five-star Walter Nolen isn’t afraid to be different

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Walten Nolen lives a few miles from the Tennessee campus. The family has overwhelming respect for the defensive line manager Rodney Garner and the program direction below Josh Heupel.

Playing for the Vols’ hometown would make perfect sense. Unless you know a lot about five-star defensive tackle.

“I feel like a person who wants to be different in everything I do,” Nolen said during the week of the Under Armor All-America Game. “I don’t want anyone to say they compared me to someone or something. We’re trying to build something different. It’s just about having a different mindset. Everyone else in this class with me, we just have a different mindset than everyone else. others”.

Nolen busy with Texas A&M and coach Jimbo Fisher in midfield during the pre-match for the Auburn match in early November. The five-star defensive tackle said the engagement was planned all along, but it took Nolen and his family at least a while to fall in love with College Station.

Nolen’s father said they were shocked the first time they visited Texas A&M and how much they loved it. Then they went back a couple more times only to feel even more comfortable. The last time Nolen left, he suggested that another trip might be needed as he may be ready to make his commitment.

So the family returned for Auburn’s game and Nolen called. That same day, four-star receiver Chris Marshall also promised the Aggies. Since that weekend, Texas A&M has been an unstoppable force on the recruiting journey and now boasts the No. 1 in the country.

“It’s going to be a scary sight,” Nolen said. “Just this week with the guys I have, it’s going to be a scary sight.”

When Nolen announced his engagement, Fisher couldn’t hold back his excitement. The Aggies had just beaten Tennessee and Georgia among many others who had gone through Nolen’s recruiting and that had given Texas A&M a five-star wrecker in the middle. In a DL group that also included five stars Travis Shaw and Keithian Alexander, Nolen was consistently the best all week.

“He was happy,” Nolen said. “He smiled from ear to ear the whole time. You could tell he changed the mood for the game.

“I felt relieved. I was relieved in the end not thinking about where I’m going. It helped me sleep at night.”

But Tennessee never gave up. The five-star defensive tackle made a couple of trips to Knoxville keeping hope for the Vols coaching staff alive, but the overtime Powell, Tenn., Finished his recruiting, finished it and the Aggies were the winners.

Nolen feared that people in surrounding communities might not love his decision, but support is all he received.

“Tennessee was in there but A&M pulled it out,” Nolen said.

“It was pretty hard. At first, I thought people would try to judge me at Powell just for my decision. They were understanding and happy for me wherever I went. It was really just Tennessee and A&M. The message was to stay at house and they told me to think about what I could do if I stayed there. “

Nolen was more interested, however, in what he could accomplish away from home. You know, be different.

Leave a Comment