Hopewell Coach Believes There Is Mutual Interest Between Virginia Football, Walker

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The University of Virginia football program strongly pursued former Hopewell High School (VA) star running back Ronnie Walker Jr. in the class of 2018. Walker, however, chose to leave the Commonwealth for Indiana University, where he has been enrolled since January of 2018.

If they so choose, it appears the Hoos have another crack at landing the 5’11”, 210-pound running back, who has entered his name into the transfer portal. Walker plans to finish out the spring semester at Indiana before heading to his next collegiate destination.

“I think he just wants to get closer to home,” said Hopewell head coach Ricky Irby, who has spoken with Walker about the transfer. “Ronnie’s kind of the dad of the house, with a single mom and so forth.”

Walker played 22 games in two seasons with the Hoosiers, totaling 221 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 59 carries. As a sophomore in 2019 he hauled in 12 passes for 112 yards and a score. He was named to the 2019 Big Ten All-Academic team.

Jon Blau of the Bloomington Herald-Times writes that Walker earned a “trusted role as a third-down back and pass protector” despite receiving a third of the amount of carries as the team’s second-leading ball-carrier, Sampson James. Fellow sophomore Stevie Scott was the team’s clear number one running back.

Virginia was interested in Walker in high school. Is Bronco Mendenhall interested now?

“I think it’s kind of early, but I think there is interest on both sides,” Irby said. “I think it’s definitely a good fit for him. I’d say UVA could be an option for sure.”

Coach Irby added that he has “no idea on a timetable” for when Walker will decide on his next college move.

“This is all happening so fast,” Irby added. “Everything broke [on Thursday (February 6)]. That’s kind of when he officially made up his mind.”

Barring a waiver, should Walker transfer to a Football Bowl Subdivision program he would have to redshirt