Sturgeon adjusting to Ole Miss football

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 7, 2010

OXFORD — Walker Sturgeon was waiting around for any scholarship offers from SEC schools this past spring.

The DeSoto High School graduate had a handful of offers from smaller colleges, but wanted to play in the SEC — especially at Ole Miss.

So when the Rebels coaching staff contacted him and invited him to play in Oxford as a preferred walk-on to play defensive end, Walker Sturgeon couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

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“I had been resigned to playing ball at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, and when they called, I was really, really happy to hear it,” Walker Sturgeon said.

“Even though I didn’t get a full scholarship, I was relieved.”

Walker Sturgeon’s father Holmes Sturgeon, who works in Natchez, said his son was living a dream his father had when he was a child.

“I got a track scholarship to Southern Miss, but I really wanted to go to Ole Miss. They offered me a scholarship, but it wasn’t a full one,” Holmes Sturgeon said.

“Southern Miss gave me a full ride, and I’m thankful for the good education they gave me, but I’ve always loved Ole Miss.”

Holmes Sturgeon lives in Woodville, but Walker attended high school in DeSoto County while living with his mother. Now that his son will be playing for the Rebels, Holmes Sturgeon couldn’t be more proud.

“When he was at DeSoto, he played against the likes of South Panola and Olive Branch, and he made All-Conference and All-District,” Holmes Sturgeon said.

“He holds school records in tackles for a career, tackles for a season, fumble recoveries and basically whatever you can think of. The thing is, he’s one of these down-to-earth kids, and he wouldn’t have told you any of this. He’s not boastful.

“I know he’s certainly proud. He loves Ole Miss and loves being up there.”

Holmes Sturgeon said he had a personal trainer put his son put through a rigorous strength and conditioning program this summer. Walker Sturgeon is now 6-foot-3, 256 pounds, and has been timed at 4.55 in the 40-yard dash.

“My speed is definitely my biggest strength. I also don’t make a lot of mistakes,” Walker Sturgeon said.

“A lot of defensive linemen are hot-headed, but I didn’t have a single penalty my senior year. I’m very level-headed, and I think that helps me and my team out a lot.”

Walker Sturgeon will redshirt this year, which will allow him to adjust to the college game, he said.

“It’s definitely a good idea. It allows me to get in shape, as far as the speed and strength aspect goes. It’s a whole new ballgame at the college level, so I have to prepare for that,” he said.

But even if he’s not going to help contribute, he’s looking for his team to have a good year.

“Everyone’s saying it’s going to be a down year here at Ole Miss, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s all in our hands,” Walker Sturgeon said.

“I think our defense will be pretty good. If we score 21 or more points, I think we’ll win.”