Travon Walker is expected to hear his name early on in the 2022 NFL Draft, but the edge rusher has found life in football tough.
Experts can't split Walker and fellow edge Aidan Hutchinson when it comes to who Jacksonville Jaguars will choose first up in one of the most open Drafts in recent memory.
Whoever the Jags pick, they'll be getting one hell of a player. Walker impressed at the combine and is many bookies' favourite to be the No1 pick in Las Vegas on Thursday night, though the Georgia star had to battle to even be a starter for the Bulldogs' national championship defence in 2021.
Walker is now at 275lbs, but he had to lose a chunk of weight after two seasons as a backup saw dreams of an NFL career almost come crashing down before they even begun.
But Walker worked hard and dropped 15lbs before a breakout season where he recorded 33.5 tackles, six sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss.
"I had to lock in on myself and what was best for my team," Walker said. "I did everything in my power to transition my body for the better of the game to help me transition into the role of a starter in college football."
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Walker impressed at the NFL Combine, finishing second in the three-cone drill with a time of 6.89, behind only Michigan's Hutchinson. Walker also ran a 4.51 in the 40-yard dash and a 4.32 in the 20-yard shuttle.
Though while he impressed in the drills, he admitted he found the interview process a bit more daunting, adding: "I was meeting with Bill Belichick and coaches I've always seen on TV and heard about being great. I cherished those moments."
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"I wasn't trying to compete with anybody other than myself. I take it as a practice moment. However long I practice for it, it becomes natural.
"It's definitely something to be grateful for. For a long time, ever since I've been at Georgia we've heard about Georgia getting all these five-star and four-star recruits and they're going to waste.
"Now you finally realise that once you stick to the course and things go as planned, great things happen."
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