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Walker becomes leader for SEB
2SEB WALKER 4 col bw
Southeast Bulloch center Jordan Walker talks with a teammate during practice.
    BROOKLET — You won’t find the stat on an official stat sheet, no Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jacket will boast about how many they have and the SEB coaches aren’t exactly thrilled to mark one down during review of last week’s game film.
    It’s a called a loaf — and senior Jordan Walker is one of just two Jackets who has yet to be caught ‘loafing’ on the football field.
    “One of the stats we keep on ourselves is ‘loafs’,” said offensive coordinator Terrence Hennessy. “When a player stops before the whistle blows, when a wide receiver doesn’t take off, when an offensive lineman is on the ground — that’s a loaf. (Walker) doesn’t have any.”
    It’s those kind of efforts that have made Walker, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound center a leader for SEB.
    “I pretty much lead by example,” said Walker. “Sometimes I have to get in their face and yell at them — but I try to be nice about it. Somebody had to step up (as a leader). I knew that I could do it and take the role and figured why not let it be me.”
    Conventional wisdom says a football team should look to its quarterback, a linebacker, perhaps even a running back to take charge on the field. Hennessy, however, isn’t surprised Walker has taken the Jackets under his wings.
    “Everywhere I’ve gone, everywhere I’ve been, the center particularly ends up being a leader,” said Hennessy. “He’s kind of like the quarterback of those front five guys.”    
    Walker came to Brooklet as a sophomore from Oconee County High in Watkinsville, and like his fellow seniors, has played for three different coaches and three different offenses over the past three years. He’s also learned that football in south Georgia is a bit different than in northern regions of the state.
    “There’s a big difference,” said the 17-year old. “Down here it’s more of a serious thing. Up there there’s some other sports that can take the highlights.”
    Walker’s taking a liking to new head coach John Kenny’s spread attack may be the catalyst for his leadership, too.
    “(The blocking) is a little less complex than it was last year,” said Walker. “There’s more assignments to remember, but since this is a younger line I think we needed to make it simpler for everyone.”
    Walker has also taken the initiative from a supportive family, in mother Billy Gene and sister Nell. His father Delane may have given him the best advice.
    “When my dad was in high school he said he didn’t really try that hard in sports,” Walker said. “He told me that if I was going to do something you might as well go all the way with it — go 100 percent with it. My parents have always taught me if you’re going to do something do it to the best of your ability so that’s what I try to do.”
    Coach Hennessy added: “He’s the one guy we can count one to lead positively,” Hennessy added. “He focuses on things like, ‘We got to get better. We’ve got to do this, we’ve got to do that’. It’s always we and we as a team.”
    Walker has aspirations of attending The Citadel, perhaps becoming a Marine one day. As for the this season, Walker is realistic.
    “I think every team dreams of going to the (Georgia) Dome,” said Walker. “I don’t know how great our chances are of getting there. At least a good region showing this year, I want to get our program on the map. I want to be able to come back in a couple years and be proud of my high school and where it’s going.”
    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912) 489-9408.