As much as we’ve all enjoyed Florida’s ridiculous workout videos and Patric Young’s attempt to woo NFL scouts, the most interesting story line of the summer for Florida has been the eligibility saga of incoming freshman Chris Walker.
Walker is a top ten recruit in the Class of 2013, a 6-foot-10 athlete that will be able to help out Florida’s front line immediately.
But he’s also a kid from Florida that stayed at his local high school instead of transferring into a program used to sending kids to Division I teams.
As a result, Walker’s relative nonchalance about academics has come back to bite him, as he failed to get himself enrolled in the classes that he needed as a freshman and a sophomore to make it through the NCAA’s Eligibility Center. As a result, he’s been playing catchup late in his high school career and over the summer.
The latest? Florida’s fall classes started on Monday, but the school has an add/drop period that lasts until August 27th. Chris Walker isn’t on Florida’s roster … yet. From Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun:
Walker may not enroll until December to ensure he meets NCAA eligibility requirements. He took three online courses over the summer in an effort to complete his core courses. Those grades then need to be reviewed by the NCAA Clearinghouse. Based on his last ACT score (16), Walker needs to finish with a 2.6 GPA or higher to gain initial NCAA eligibility.
Obviously, the ideal would be for the NCAA to come through by next Tuesday to ensure that the Gators will have Walker for the November 8th opener against North Florida, but in truth, they have enough talent in the front court to thrive in the first semester without him.
Young returns, as does Will Yeguete and Casey Prather. Virginia Tech transfer Dorian Finney-Smith and South Carolina transfer Damontre Harris will both be eligible to play this year. With or without Walker, that’s a front line that can stack up with just about anyone in the country.
Ironically enough, Florida’s non-conference schedule may end up being tougher than the one they will face in the SEC this year. By December 17th, Florida will already have played at Wisconsin, home against Florida State, at UConn, home against Kansas and versus Memphis in New York.