Vance Walker #96 DE
Height: 6-2 Weight: 305 Age: 29
Born: 4/26/1987 Cincinnati , OH
College: Georgia Tech
Experience: 9th season
High School: Fort Mill HS [SC]
Selected By: Atlanta Falcons
Pick (Overall): 1 (210)
With teammates like Michael Johnson, Darryl Richard and Derrick Morgan, Walker didn't appear in the headlines often. But he gets plenty of credit for the defensive success of the Yellow Jackets from the Georgia Tech coaching staff. The hard worker was the anchor of the line.
His coaching staff and teammates, along with opposing coaches and players, are all singing his praises, and he was named an All-American third-team pick and Bednarik Award semifinalist as a junior. The accolades continued during his senior campaign, when ESPN named him the Atlantic Coast Conference midseason defensive MVP. Walker went on to capture All-ACC first-team honors and secure an invitation to the Senior Bowl.
At Fort Mill High School, Walker garnered third-team All-State honors from the Columbia State and was named to the Charlotte Observer's All-Observer first-team and all-Upper South Carolina first-team. The All-region and All-Area selection by the Rock Hill Herald was also a member of South Carolina's Shrine Bowl team. The team MVP recorded 17.5 sacks and 41 tackles behind the line of scrimmage as a senior.
Walker developed into a key contributor on the Georgia Tech defensive line as a true freshman. He played behind Mansfield Wrotto at left defensive tackle most of the season, earning a pair of starting assignments. He posted 15 tackles (12 solo) with a sack and three stops for loss to earn his first varsity letter.
Walker shifted to right tackle in 2006, starting two of 14 games for an injured Joe Anoai. He delivered 17 tackles for the campaign, including nine solo stops. The 2007 was his breakout campaign, capturing All-American and All-ACC honors. He started all 13 games at right tackle, as his 8.5 sacks rank 12th on the school single-season record list. He registered 14 tackles behind the line of scrimmage among his 45 tackles (30 solo), causing three fumbles while recovering two others.
The senior was a preseason All-American choice, but Walker had a few injury glitches during the 2008 season. He suffered from a violent helmet-to-helmet collision that brought upon concussion-like symptoms in the third game vs. Virginia Tech, but despite being shut down in practices, he was back on the field the next game. An ankle sprain late in the season forced him to sit out the Miami clash and he did not record any statistics in his last four games, finishing with 33 tackles (18 solo), three sacks and 8.5 stops for loss.