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Buford's Walker taking next endeavor into broadcasting

Darius Walker

Darius Walker

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Darius Walker

Just six months on the job, Darius Walker faced the biggest challenge of his short broadcasting career.

The Buford grad was preparing to interview players and coaches from Notre Dame, his alma mater, for the BCS National Championship game.

"It was tough, but once you get in this business you know there's a level of professionalism," Walker said. "I always have to remember there's a job to do. I have to say what is right and factual."

As a college football analyst for Fox Sports, Walker brings an impressive resume. He was a highly recruited running back out of Buford and went on to an impressive career for the Fighting Irish before playing in the NFL.

Walker will be inducted into the Gwinnett Sports Hall of Fame on Sunday at Coolray Field. It's not that surprising of a honor for the high school record- setting running back. But the timing is a little earlier than Walker expected. At 27 years old, he's the second-youngest player to be inducted into the hall of fame.

"Honestly, I was shocked," Walker said. "It wasn't something I was expecting so early on. When you hear about the hall of fame, you think of people in their mid-30s or 40s."

Walker, a 2004 Buford grad, had one of the most decorated prep careers the county has ever seen. He helped Buford reach four state championship games, winning three titles. The Wolves compiled a 58-2 record during that time, including a state record 45-game winning streak.

"When you're a player and going through it, you enjoy it so much," Walker said. "We really did something no other team before was able to do."

Walker rushed for 5,676 yards in his career and scored 91 touchdowns. His 46 touchdowns in 2003 broke Hershel Walker's single-season touchdown record.

Walker received just about every post-season superlative from Daily Post Offensive Player of Year to Georgia's Gatorade Player of the Year and Parade All-American honors.

As one of the nation's top recruited players, Walker signed with Notre Dame. He set the freshman single-season rushing record with 786 yards. As a junior, he rushed for 1,247 yards for the sixth-best single season in Notre Dame's illustrious history and ranks fourth all-time in career rushing yards.

Walker left school early to pursue the NFL. After going undrafted, he was signed as a free agent by the Houston Texans. He later went back to Notre Dame to get his degree in business marketing in 2009.

"The NFL I dreamed about before I got to high school," Walker said. "When I got the opportunity, it was exciting."

Walker spent four years in the NFL, playing for the Texans, Denver Broncos, St. Louis Rams and Dallas Cowboys. He started two games for the Texans in 2007 and rushed for 264 yards and one TD in his career. Walker retired from the NFL in 2010.

"There's nothing fun about it," Walker said of the NFL. "It's just about being a professional athlete. The fun aspect kind of disappeared. It made it more of a job and less fun."

With his playing days behind him, Walker pursued a career in sports broadcasting. He has worked for ESPN Radio and spent last season as a college football analyst for Fox Sports, covering the Pac-12, Big 10 and Big 12 conferences.

"I wasn't 100 percent sure what I wanted to do. I was done banging my body up for a living," Walker said. "I'm always going to be a sports guy, so the opportunity to make a living in sports is a huge plus for me."

Walker now lives in West Hollywood outside of Los Angeles where he shares an apartment building with the cast from "Dancing With The Stars."

It's a fitting place for the former Buford star now making his way into broadcasting.

"I think it's something I can put some longevity into," Walker said. "It seems like you can do this for 15-20 years."