UNIVERSITY PARK — Former Central Mountain football standout Von Walker made his mark as a special teams performer/leader at Penn State and the Mill Hall native’s role was recognized Saturday at Penn State football’s annual media day.
Charles Huff, the team’s special teams coordinator and running back coach, was asked about the “next Von Walker”:
Q. The last couple of years, you seemed to have a coverage ace like Von Walker or Nick Scott. Is there somebody who is an understudy to Nick this year or who you think could have a really big year on special teams in the coverage aspect of the game?
CH: “There’s a lot. The one that probably jumps to mind right now is the guy who led our team last year on special teams tackles, probably Ayron Monroe. Ayron Monroe played a huge role last year, and his role is going to grow. If you were saying, ‘okay, who’s the Von Walker of the group right now?’ it’s probably Ayron.
“There’s probably another — the one thing that’s a little bit different is there’s probably six or seven of those guys that have played significant roles, and now putting them on the field together, although they all may not rack up 10 tackles, if 10 people get one tackle, that’s a pretty good day.
“But Ayron Monroe has done an unbelievable job. Juwan Johnson, who’s going to have a bigger role on offense, has done a really good job for us. Christian Campbell, Troy Apke’s done an unbelievable job. We’ve had to pull Grant Haley back because he wants to be on every coverage unit. And we’ve got some younger guys. But he’s another guy that’s done an unbelievable job.
“The one thing we have right now is we have a lot of older guys who are delivering the message to the younger guys but are not passing the torch. Does that make sense? They’re not saying, hey, Coach, take me off and play this younger guy. They’re saying, hey, Coach, I’m going to help you get the younger guy ready, but I still want to be on this unit. When you get to that level, you have a true culture of success, a culture of believing in special teams.”
Walker completed his PSU eligibility last season and the two-time PSU captain now works in a sales capacity in Washington, D.C.
Penn State, defending Big 10 champs, meanwhile opens a much anticipated season Saturday, Sept. 2, hosting Akron.