Louisville Football has been recruiting remarkably for 2021. They continue their winning ways on the trail with a commitment from 2021 3 Star CB Kani Walker.
The 6’2 194 lbs native of Douglasville, GA chose the Cards over Arkansas, Boston College, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, NC State, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse, among others. Walker is ranked as the 821st prospect overall nationally and as the 70th ranked CB. nationally according to 247sports. Defensive Coordinator and Cornerbacks Coach Bryan Brown was Walker’s primary recruiter for UofL. Walker was a one-time Boston College commit before de-committing back on June 1st.
Walker plays for Douglas County High School where he had a highly productive 2019 season. According to an interview Walker gave to Illini Pulse, he had 30 tackles, 2 interceptions, 9 pass breakups, and a forced fumble. He plays primarily CB on defense and WR on offense, but also plays some S. Most believe he will play corner in college.
Here’s our staff’s breakdowns of Walker’s game.
Kani Walker is long, athletic, fast, and playmaker at the CB position. His size fits the mold many pro teams are currently looking for at CB. He is at his best in man coverage, but, based on what I saw of him playing S, he can play zone as well. He can line up on the line of scrimmage to jam receivers or play off to allow himself to read plays and react. Changing direction quickly while covering and acting as a receiver going up to high point the ball and breakup passes are skills Walker exhibits. He has the speed to keep up with anyone on fades or streaks. He loves to be physical with receivers, throwing off the timing of routes and forcing them to really work to get open. When he tackles, he hits hard, but clean.
The most noticeable trait Walker possesses is his physicality. It’s why the CB position has been trending to bigger guys in recent history. When in coverage, he likes to mix it up with the receiver at the line of scrimmage, jamming them. Even in off coverage, he will push them around with that 5 yard zone it’s legal to do so.
This trait of physicality also shows up in his tackling. He enjoys lowering the boom on receivers and ball carriers and has the size to do it. Walker is definitely not opposed to help out in stopping the run. When a receiver attempts to block him, Walker likes to run through them. It is actually a smart thing to do because it will disrupt the running lane and also take a toll on the receiver.
Walker does play quite a bit of S for his high school. The one thing I notice in watching him play that position is his ability to sit back, watch the play develop, quickly diagnose what’s happening, and get to where he needs to be. He’s so good at recognizing short passes over the middle and breaking quickly on them to break them up. When he sees run, he quickly figures out where the offense is looking to open lanes and attacks that area smartly, helping to hold the runner in check and often bringing that runner down. These abilities lead me to believe Walker can play zone at the CB spot and play it well.
However, it’s obvious watching Walker is a guy you line up, man-on-man to shut down receivers. As mentioned above, he’s very good at playing receivers physically and disrupting routes and timing. He can play off and be able to back pedal and break out of it quickly to run with WRs. On routes where they try to fake one way to go another, Walker shows fluid hips, able to change direction quickly and accelerate to top speed efficiently to stay with his assignment. On deep balls, he doesn’t play the receiver, he gets his head around and plays the ball. It allows him to, in effect, become the receiver and either intercept the ball or knock it down. To be honest, I think he can work and become more of an interception machine.
Walker also demonstrates speed. What Coach Satterfield and Coach Brown value on defense is speed. Walker gives them that. He can keep up with speed guys on the outside. Even if he’s a smidge late coming out of his back pedal, he can easily recover because of his speed. In one particular highlight, you see him come from the middle of the field to chase down a runner on the sideline that may have scored if not for him.
Kani Walker could play S, but I like his size and skills at CB. I think UofL may try him out at both positions, but I believe he will ultimately be a corner. Louisville hasn’t had to many corners with the size and skill of Walker: 6’2, physical, speedy, and quick. He has to intercept more passes because I think he can. Once Bryan Brown gets him and molds him, I have no doubt he will become a monster in the secondary.
For most of last year, fans complained about the lack of playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. Kani Walker will go a long way in silencing those complaints. At 6’2, Walker will and can be a disruptive force on defense. Walker can play anywhere in the secondary; safety, nickel corner, field corner or boundary corner. Kani has also played some reciever in high school, no doubt about it Coach Satterfield has got himself a versatile athlete. Make no mistake about it, he will be a corner at Louisville.
Kani has all the measurables to be successful in any defensive scheme, so I know he’ll thrive in Coach Brown’s system. Standing 6’2 with long arms, quick feet, leaping ability, nice hands, loose and fluid hips, and good speed Walker has the attributes and potential to be a lockdown corner.
As a corner, Walker excels at playing press coverage. He uses his physicality to bump, harass, and disrupt the timing between reciever and quarterback. Walker is also really good at playing 5-7 yards off the receiver. When playing off the receiver he uses his vision to quickly break on routes both short and deep. Walker is a very aggressive corner. When the ball is in the air, he quickly turns his head to locate and attack the ball at it’s highest point.
As a safety, Walker quickly diagnosis plays and either uses his long strides and arms to break up passes or his straight line speed to tackle ball carriers. Make no mistake about it, the young man is an athlete.
Tackling is often an overlooked ability for corners. Kani’s will be a better tackler by the time he suits up full time for the Cardinals, but the young man sure can bring the ‘BOOM’ at times. If he gets a 6 yard head a steam, watch out folks he going to lay the lumber. Though, I still believe form tackling is going to be the key in the development of Walker.
I have very little doubt that Walker will be a shutdown corner for the Cards for years to come. With most elite receivers being over 6’1 these days, it’s really good to see the staff land a tall disruptive corner to help negate the height differential.
Kani Walker could play a variety of positions in the Louisville secondary, but he will likely line up at corner. His blend of size, athleticism, physicality, and speed are a trend for what coaches want in today’s CBs. Walker could become a true shutdown CB. He could grow to potentially become a CB that cuts the field in half for opposing QBs. Bryan Brown is getting the weapons he wants to turn the defense into a juggernaut. Kani Walker is a big weapon that could be a game changer.
With Kani Walker’s commitment, Louisville now has 13 commitments for 2021. The class ranks 27th nationally and 7th in the ACC at this point according to 247sports. Louisville is likely not done with commits today either.