Tennessee commit holding strong

Mississippi Scout
Posted Nov 26, 2008


Former Olive Branch (MS) standout, Marlon Walls, inked with Tennessee in February and enrolled in Hargrave after failing to qualify.

For some, the transition to attend a military prep school is tough, and the former high school All-American is no different.

"It went pretty good," added Marlon Walls while sitting in his den during the Thanksgiving holidays. "It humbled me a whole lot and makes you appreciate things. I played with a great group of guys. Playing here certainly makes you want to get back to where you need to be, but the experience was great."

The Hargrave experience taught the 6' 3", 250 pound end how to become a man.

"Up here, there are not too many distractions. You go to study hall, and you stay for three hours until you are done. They make you mature and appreciate things. The military part is tough, but at the same time, it calms you down. It humbles you and makes you bond with your teammates."

Walls did the have the luxury of having a friend and fellow Mississippian with him at Hargrave to help with the transition.

"Me and Tig (Darius Barksdale) are roommates. I leaned on him, and he leaned on me, when we were home sick. And I am not going to lie, we both got to missing our momma's pretty good (laugh). There were times when both of us were like, I am out of here, but then the other would remind what the big picture is and that is to get our grades so we can go play SEC ball. I am glad that he was with me. But I am met a lot of good friends over here. I became close friends Bobby Massie, Leon Mackey, Kevin Reddick, and several other players. We built lifetime bonds."

On the field, the transition was not quite as tough.

"The competition is a lot faster. We played against some colleges, like East Carolina, Mashall, and Tennessee. I love competition. It sparks you and takes your game to another level. It brings you to a whole another mindset. It really helps you out as a football player. You thrive off of competition. I love those type of games. The last game of the year was against Tennessee's JV team, and we lost to them 34-22. That was our only loss of the year but we got better during that game."

The irony for Marlon was playing the university that he signed with out of high school.

"It was a big tease for me. It felt strange to line up against my teammates, but at the same time, we had fun."

Walls is graduating in December, so he only has a few weeks before he signs his letter of intent. Will Tennessee be that school?

"I have spoken to Mike Hamilton, and I received a letter from their athletic director. It stated that we still have our scholarship no matter what. Everything looks like it is going to work out. I am just waiting to see who they bring in."

The dismissal of Coach Fulmer was a hard pill to swallow, but the 2007 All-State selection believes he can get past it.

"I love Coach Fulmer to death. We became very close, but I also became close with a lot of those players up there. We text each other every day, and we have decided to stay together. I am loving the "T" right now, and I think I am going to stick with Tennessee."

That has not stopped some other schools from trying to change his mind.

"First of all, nobody has tried to force it on me. They just asked if I was open or was I sticking with Tennessee. I told them I am sticking with them. They all respected that decision, but at the same time, they said they are going to keep recruiting me (laugh). You have schools like Miami, Virginia Tech, Clemson, and Ole Miss. Those are the top ones that are coming after me, besides Tennessee. But they all understand I want to stick with Tennessee."

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