Athlete of the Week: Ready to take his shot

Clarkston News Sports Writer
Long snapper Jenson Walker plans to take his skills to Southeast Missouri State University after signing his Letter of Intent to become a Redhawk, Feb. 5.
Walker, a Clarkston resident and senior at Holly High School, noted what stood out about SEMO was the academics and the help he would receive with classes if he needed it, to be the best student he can be. He added besides helpful professors in the classroom, the football team has someone who helps the players.
“Almost like a counselor. She is always there for you,” he said,adding he likes having that sense of security of having someplace to go if he needs help.
He plans to study systems engineering and his goal is to work for General Motors.
“I like working with cars,” Walker explained, adding he works part time at a dealership detailing vehicles. “It’s fun.”
Walker’s journey in the sport began with flag football before going into tackle football in third grade.
“Ever since then I loved the sport,” he said. “It’s just been something I always look forward to. The last couple years of high school made me realize how much I truly like the sport so I decided to work harder to continue playing it in college.”

Jenson Walker. Photo provided

He got into the long snapper position one practice while his team was working with special teams. The question was asked if anyone was interested in trying the long snapper positions.
“I said sure I will give it a shot,” Walker said, adding after he did it his coaches noted it was really good. “I played center my sophomore year so I was like sure I will give it a shot. I started doing it in the games more and more. Then, Coach (Dallas) Lesperance told me ‘if you really want to play in college this will be a good spot for you to play. I can see you have a lot of room to improve, and your work ethic is there so you will be able to work for it and be able to achieve your dream.'”
Walker began training with Nolan Owen, a former Northern Illinois University Long Snapper, through virtual lessons.
“It helped out a ton,” he said about the training. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if we didn’t find him and really got serious with it. He helped me so much over a span of a year. Working nonstop, putting in countless hours of working out and drills and stuff like that.”
Walker did most of his lessons over FaceTime. He set it up on a tripod and one of his friends would catch for him.
“Sometimes we will do it in the hallway at our high school,” he said.
Walker received many accolades playing football including Flint Metro League All-League First-Team 2019, Detroit News All-North Honorable Mention, All-State Honorable Mention honoree, Offensive Most Valuable Player and Offensive Lineman of the Year 2019, All-Metro League All-Team 2018 and he was team captain.
His advice to aspiring athletes is to focus and academics should be the main focus.
“You have to focus on school first. It’s big,” he said, adding to work hard every chance you get especially for football players and getting into the weight room. “If you have the chance to be in the weight room and take a class for it at school, take it and get as much out of it as you can. Give it everything you’ve got and leave everything on the field. Make sure you surround yourself with people who want to push you. For me, being pushed to do something can be a little stressful at times, but your friends will always be there for you. That’s also another good thing to have – friendships, it really helps.”
His parents are Kris and Kathi.

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