Defensive end prospect Rico Walker announces he will stay in-state to continue his football career, committing to North Carolina. The four-star athlete chose the Tar Heels over Maryland, Florida, Auburn, and Tennessee.
One month after his official visit, Walker becomes the highest-ranked recruit to join Mack Brown’s program. Five class of 2023 players from NC remained in-state to play for the Tar Heels.
A Peek at UNC’s new DE Rico Walker
Walker’s father, Ricardo Walker, played defensive tackle at Auburn, so there is athleticism in the family. Tennessee’s defensive line coach, Rodney Garner, recruited Walker’s father and attempted to do the same for his son.
Walker attends Hickory High School in Hickory, NC, and ranks as the second-best prospect in the state. He plays both sides of the ball in high school but will play defensive end in college.
As a tight end and wide receiver, Walker caught 12 passes for 131 yards and three touchdowns. On defense, he recorded a team-high seven sacks, along with 56 total tackles.
The 6-foot-3, 235-pound edge is spotted at No. 121 on ESPN’s Class of 2023 Top 300. He received a scout grade of 84 and ranks as the 18th-best DE in the country.
UNC moves up to No. 19 after adding their 15th commit. They total six four-star and nine three-star recruits.
The Tar Heels finished 6-7, with a 3-5 record in conference play. They placed fifth in the ACC Coastal Division. Brown’s program opens its 2022 campaign up against Florida A&M on August 27.