KENNESAW — Dorian Walker may be the answer to a lot of questions in the Kennesaw State defensive backfield.
The former Mount Paran Christian standout transferred to the Owls following his 2016 season at Georgia Tech and was expected to become a shutdown corner on one side of the field last year.
Now, Walker is in charge of the entire field. He has moved to free safety, and it is looking like it will be a good fit.
“I think the transition has gone well,” the 6-foot, 180-pound junior said. “I’m willing to do whatever the coaches need me to do. They are trying to put me in the best position to be successful.”
As a cornerback last season, Walker started seven games and had two interceptions and 40 tackles. This season, he is expected to use his 4.5-second speed to be a momentum-changer.
“He’s been good,” Kennesaw State coach Brian Bohannon said. “He’s a lot more dialed-in and we’re going to make the best use of his abilities. What we are giving him (at free safety) is the ability to get involved with more big plays.”
Walker is going to have some big shoes to fill. He will help fill the hole left by former Kell High School standout Taylor Henkle, who teamed with Jace White as the leaders of the defensive backs. Henkle was a two-time all-Big South Conference selection, but he graduated with a year of eligibility remaining.
Walker and White will also be helping a pair of new starting cornerbacks after the graduation of Keon Roman and the dismissal of Akebren Ralls. There has not been an official announcement of the new starters, but, if things go poorly, Walker could be moved back to his original position.
MAKING A MARK
Bohannon has said his goal with each new signing class is to outrecruit the previous one, and that the best players will play.
That appears to be the case with Markeith Montgomery.
The 5-9, 172-pound true freshman cornerback from Ridgeland High School has come in and worked his way onto the field.
“He’s going to play,” Bohannon said. “Like a lot of freshmen, he has his ups and downs, but he is a confident kid, and he has a true corner mentality.”
Montgomery, a two-time Class AAAA Defensive Player of the Year at Ridgeland, is likely one of the reasons Walker was able to switch positions.
“He definitely could be one of those special players,” Walker said. “He’s going to be able to step in and make plays for us.”
Kennesaw State will get the chance to play in front of its biggest television audience yet in Week 2.
The Owls will make their national TV debut on ESPNU, facing Tennessee Tech for a 7 p.m. kickoff Thursday, Sept. 6 in Cookeville, Tennessee.
The announcement was made Friday.
“It’s exciting to know that a national audience will be tuned in for Kennesaw State football that Thursday night,” Bohannon said in a release. “The exposure to a national audience that these televised games affords our football program, athletic department and university is priceless and we’re always thrilled when students, alumni and fans that can’t be at the game have the opportunity to join Owl Nation from wherever they might be.”