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State's Walker ready to roll

By By Danny P. Smith / special to The Star
Aug. 29, 2002
STARKVILLE Dontae Walker is confident going into his senior season at Mississippi State.
Despite a knee injury that slowed his progress during two-a-day practices, the senior from Clinton is ready to be a durable back for the Bulldogs.
His teammates have taken notice of Walker's determination coming into the season.
After a quality sophomore season where he rushed for 795 yards on 148 carries and nine touchdowns, Walker's production slipped last season to 548 yards on 136 carries and only five touchdowns.
Before suffering a series of injuries in the spring, MSU head coach Jackie Sherrill saw glimpses of how dominating Walker can be.
Despite the spring injuries and the knee problem in the fall, Glenn Davis, the running back coach of the Bulldogs, likes Walker's work ethic.
With sophomore Fred Reid and freshmen Jerious Norwood and Nick Turner at tailback, Walker likes the fact there is competition at the position to make him better.
Walker's weight has been an issue for some. He is listed as 248 pounds, but the coaching staff wants him closer to 238.
Walker is not worried so much about weight as he is about his improving knee.
Davis knows that Walker is the type of player who wants to carry the ball as many times as he can, but will be cautious not to overwork him.
Mississippi State will play at Oregon Saturday at 5 p.m. and it will be fine with Walker to get into a physical game with the Ducks.