Why Amorion Walker feels primed to be a Michigan football starting cornerback
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — With all the various storylines that Michigan football has this spring, the biggest is arguably Amorion Walker making the switch from wide receiver to cornerback.
While that’s at least marginally noteworthy in normal cases, what has made this groundbreaking is the second-year player is currently considered a starter opposite Will Johnson, the former five-star. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh called Walker a unicorn due to his ability on that side of the ball.
In his eyes, what makes him ‘a unicorn?’
“I would say, from an athleticism standpoint, I definitely would say I’m one of the best athletes in the country, for sure,” Walker said. “As far as running and jumping good and being able to change direction — just in those two categories, I guess.”
Walker has learned a lot from Mike Sainristil, who made a similar switch from wideout to nickel back at this time last year. Though the Louisiana native is full-time as a defensive back (he plans to play both ways once he gets the defense down), his playing on defense isn’t new as his first position in high school was cornerback, and he even saw time in the Hawaii game last year playing on defense.
Getting those early reps in the defensive backfield has certainly helped Walker with his transition, because, while he intended to play wide receiver at the next level, he realized he has the ability to be a high-level cornerback. Once he came to that epiphany, he started further applying himself, readying himself for the opportunity he’s currently making the most of this spring.
“Every now and then I’d go to defense for few periods or two during the season last year,” Walker said. “Never permanent at all, just trying to get me to learn some things. I would go in and play some man — I really know the man coverages that we have. Toward the end of the year, I kind of started learning a little bit more because I kind of had the notion that if I’m gonna make this transition, I’m gonna take it serious.
“So I said toward the end of the year, I started learning as much as I can, have a little bit of momentum rolling into spring. Transitioned pretty well. Feel like I’m learning things OK right now. Like I said, when I fully grasp it, I’ll be OK.”
There is still something of a learning curve for Walker at this juncture. Some of it is learning the playbook and having that down as rote. But, additionally, he says some of his habits from playing on the offensive side of the ball occasionally inhibits him.
Once he’s eradicated those, he’s sure he’ll be good to go as the starting cornerback.
“I would say trying to lose like the receiver tendencies that I had no for playing it for a long time,” Walker said. “On some plays, maybe like, as a receiver, you get your head around a lot, I might get my head around too fast or something like that. Just trying to get back into the DB motion and back to where I used to be before the switch.”
Fans will get a chance to see Walker making the most of his newfound position in the annual spring game, which will take place on April 1 at 3 p.m. EDT at The Big House.
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