Possible top NFL Draft pick Travon Walker was just as dominant on the basketball court
Yahoo Sports’ NFL Draft Analyst Eric Edholm visits with the former Georgia Defensive End. Walker’s stock has shot up mock drafts since his head-turning performance at the NFL Combine. Will climb all the way to the top spot? Eric asks Travon what he thinks the chances are he could go number 1. Before Walker helped lead Georgia to their first National Championship since 1980, he was setting high school basketball records. Travon Walker joined Yahoo Sports thanks to , Official NFL Partner.
ERIC EDHOLM: Well, we are pleased to be talking to Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker here at "Yahoo Sports." National champion, he's coming off a tremendous NFL combine. He could be one of the first picks in the NFL draft. And we want to hear about his partnership with USAA in just a little bit.
But first, let's get to know you just a little bit better. It's funny because high school football is obviously huge in Georgia. And that was your calling card in college. But you guys also dominated in basketball Upson-Lee High School. Did I read correctly? You won 75 games in a row. And you were a big part of that. Is that right?
TRAVON WALKER: Yes, sir. That is exactly right.
ERIC EDHOLM: Wow. Tell us about just the streak and winning a championship and your time on the hardwood there.
TRAVON WALKER: At that time, I can say that time was a very exciting moment, that whole season, just being around a lot of those guys. That team was so special because we played together all the way up from recreational ball. We one two recreational championships together. And then we also went to the same middle school as well. So therefore, there we won two championships in middle school.
And then we also played charter ball together as well. And we won two national titles on our youth circuit. Then just lead up to high school and continuously do the same thing. Two years back-to-back, we won two state championship titles and hold the longest winning streak in the state of Georgia's record for basketball. It was very special and something that I'll never ever forget.
ERIC EDHOLM: Unbelievable. But you went to Georgia for football. You did some winning there. You won a national championship. You got to walk off as a national champion. And the best part is it came against Alabama. They'd had your number before that. You turned the tides on them there.
It's the first time you've beaten them in a while. It was the national championship game. Georgia fans, obviously, embraced the moment like nothing else. What stands out to you from that night in Indianapolis? What was the recipe to success for not only beating Alabama but seeing it all the way through?
TRAVON WALKER: Like I tell everybody, we just have to make the connection-- the connection. once we got in the locker room knowing that we had already lost to Alabama in the SEC Championship. It was just like everybody, we could tell. You look around the locker room, everybody was in the zone. And, of course, I have to say Kelee picking out the interception.
And then once that final horn went off, it was just complete excitement. At the moment, I really hadn't taken it all in that we had just won the national championship. But once I started seeing everybody rushing on the field, confetti dropping loose, it's one to remember as well.
ERIC EDHOLM: And then not too long after that, you shocked people at the combine. You ran a 4.5 40. You had agility drills and jumping drills off the chart, all at over 270 pounds. I know your play on the field is the bottom line. That's what scouting is based on. But in your opinion, how much do you think the NFL combine work out that you turned in helped maybe cast you in a different light or shed some light on just how athletic and how freaky your skills are?
TRAVON WALKER: I mean, it definitely showed a lot of light on the skill set that I have like just my versatility, being able to do a lot of things D-end, move through the bags, quick feet, things of that nature. But also, sometimes, it can be a misjudged just because you do have a lot of great athletes out here that can go through and do drills all day. But once you go get on the field, that's a totally different ball game. So the coordination between the combine and playing game, it has some sort of compassion things that you can go by to tell if he's a good player or not.
ERIC EDHOLM: Let's get to the bottom line here. Do you think you have a shot or have you been told that you have a shot to be the number one selection to the Jacksonville Jaguars? Give us a rundown of what you've been hearing and what you know about the situation.
TRAVON WALKER: Me, personally, I do think I have a shot at being the first pick overall. But it's the situation no one knows where I end up just because you don't know what the people upstairs, GMs, think of that sort. Coach may like you a lot more than the GM may like you. So you'll never really know how it's going to play out. So I just leave it all in God's hand.
ERIC EDHOLM: And now I want to hear a little bit more about your partnership with USAA and the NFL Salute to Service Program, working hand in hand. I know your dad was in the Marines. I guess, take us through a little bit of your childhood being in a military family and maybe how that helped shape you and guide you to this point.
TRAVON WALKER: Yeah. Partnering up with USAA has been a great blessing. Just from growing up, my dad was in the Marines. The type of structure that my dad raised me on, he was one of those guys that always woke up early. So I felt like my transition to college, I have a 6:00 AM and things like that I've never really done other than probably once in high school. It really played a big impact on me because I didn't have to struggle like a lot of others. Others did just from something as simple as getting up.
But in the discipline that my dad taught me growing up as well, he went through a lot of hard things in the Marine Corps. He'll just tell you about some of the things that he had to face. It really makes me just go hard every day because people out here are fighting for our country, fighting to serve for us just to live and be able to do the things that we do. So it's something that's very special to me to be able to partner up with the USAA.
ERIC EDHOLM: Travon Walker, folks, he can be one of the first names called on Thursday night in the NFL draft. Travon, thank you so much for joining us here at "Yahoo Sports."
TRAVON WALKER: Yes, sir. Thank you so much.