Nearing the end of the first quarter in the 2017 WPIAL Class 2A football championship game, Washington High School’s Dan Walker Jr. stopped Steel Valley’s Amonte Strothers on a sweep inches short of the end zone on fourth down.
That play was one of many throughout the game that led the Prexies to a 37-10 victory and their first district championship since 2001.
Next fall, Walker and Strothers will be sharing the same defensive backfield.
Walker is joining Strothers, and several other WPIAL players, at Delaware University. Walker announced his commitment Friday afternoon via Twitter.
Multiple schools were interested in the safety turned two-way player for Washington. At one point, Louisville, South Carolina, Mississippi State and Purdue and other major programs showed interest in the 6-2, 190-pound multi-dimensional athlete. He was strongly considering Temple, Cincinnati and Miami (Ohio) before committing to Delaware, an FCS school.
“Being an FCS school didn’t play a factor at all. I just wanted to do what was best for my future,” Walker said. “I want to major in physical therapy and that’s one of the best schools for that. Education is more important that football.”
In his two seasons with the Prexies, Walker dominated on offense and defense. After a delayed start to his junior year because of transfer rules, he intercepted four passes and had 33 pass receptions for 617 yards and nine touchdowns in 10 games. This season, he played all over the field for the Washington defense, pulling down eight interceptions. He had 32 receptions for 572 yards and nine touchdowns. Forced into the backfield as an emergency running back, Walker ran for 417 yards and eight scores in three games as a starter.
“Playing offense in my two years at Washington helped me out defensively because now I know what receivers want to do and what they’re thinking,” Walker said.
Walker joins several area players at Delaware, including South Fayette’s Noah Plack, who just finished his freshman season and hosted him during a visit to campus. Also at Delaware are Strothers and Braden Brose, a former tight end from Hempfield, also plays for the Blue Hens.
South Fayette kicker Ryan Coe recently signed with Delaware.
“That played a part. It helps a lot having people that I can talk to that aren’t complete strangers and have some things in common just because where we are from,” Walker said. “My dad loved the campus. There is an opportunity to play early. I connected with the coaches. I just felt at home.”