Posted at 7:30am — 2/15/2016

GBMWolverine Message Board Readers:
Here is a overview of University of Michigan recently signed commitment Kareem Walker.

Kareem Walker's commitment to Michigan brought excitement long before signing day. Now that Walker is enrolled and has signed his LOI confirming he will continue his education and football career in the Big House, there remains some disagreement about how skilled an entry-level running back Walker is.

His star rating is strong, and most pundits rated Kareem as being somewhere between the first to fifth best running back prospect of the 2016 class.

Some pundits maintained that Walker was simply the best back on the recruiting trail this year, but still not elite or a true difference maker for a typical program. Running backs and offensive linemen are never sure fire gets in a recruiting class. Injuries, mental toughness, ability to transfer good coaching to the field, and plain old attitude are always factors. Running back coaches can help mold a running back, but the great ones find ways to succeed, whether through great vision, strength, leverage, and of course blocking.

There is no evidence of a Reggie Bush type that begs the descriptor of “can’t miss.” But there are several dozen running backs in this class (and every class) who will work, get better, and improve.

Michigan, while not landing a rock star of Adrian Peterson stature, may have found a guy in Kareem Walker that if the competitive nature is strong, the adaption to coaching successful, and the work ethic becomes ultra fierce, ends up being a very competent player.

There will be comparisons to former high school stars Derrick Green and Ty Issac and Buckeye backs Zeke Elliott and Carlos Hyde, but the most common denominator is that all are running backs.

Kareem Walker has plenty going that is positive. He is said to be very intense and coach-able. His speed is superior to most of Michigan’s current squad of backs, excepting perhaps Ty Issac. He has worked on catching the ball out of the backfield more the last two years, but is not quite yet a Mike Leach type of back. Perhaps the biggest trait Michigan football followers should be excited about is how much improvement Kareem Walker has shown in his junior and senior seasons.

There is more: Walker has played tough level ball, competing against two or three major national high school powers. He seems to have some pull away speed, and a stride that is somewhat deceptive. While not chiseled like Jabrill Peppers, Kareem Walker clearly does not need a year or two to sculpt his body. ​Here is already ​into college form. Kareem is already the size of Peppers without one day in a high level strength and conditioning program.

He is described by some sources as having excellent vision. This site is not sold on Walker’s vision, finding holes, running upright through the hole and pad leverage. But he has physical talent and solid attitude and good coaching should yield at the minimum a back that can play within the Harbaugh offense and contribute more than what is currently being seen.

His success will also depend on the development of a new offensive line within the next two years. The usual tags of strength, pass catching ability, especially lower body, blocking, and finding a hole will apply. Will Walker end up having home run speed and being a back that actually sets up cutbacks? Is that really part of the Michigan offense? Or will Walker be the type of guy Harbaugh clearly favors: a back who hits the hole, makes the tough yard, and stays healthy enough to contribute even in a smash-mouth system?

Kareem Walker
Height: 6’1
Weight: 210
Birthday: May 18, 1998
Number: 6
Current Position: Running Back
Future Position: Running Back
City/State: Wayne, New Jersey
High School: DePaul Catholic
Head Coach: John McKenna
Recruiter: Tyrone Wheatley / Chris Partridge
Official Visit:10/9/2015
Committed: 12/17/2015
Top 5 Offers: Alabama, Florida State, Michigan State, Ohio State (former commit), and Notre Dame.
Other Visits: Alabama (11/6/2015), Auburn (11/27/2015), Florida State (12/4/2015), and Arizona State (12/12/2015).
40-Time: 4.5
All-Star Game: Under Armour All-American Game and The Opening.
Class: 2016 Michigan Wolverine Football Recruiting Class (Early Enroll Signed).

Enrolled in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.

Follow Kareem Walker: on Twitter

Al 〽️ightyReem@_KareemWalker 20 Dec 2015 16 days until I'm in Michigan

Rankings:

24/7:
ESPN:
Rivals:
Scout:

Note: Stars do matter, but are not absolute in predicting success within a football program. So, with that in mind the GBMWolverine Message Board Staff has cleverly come up with a new system of ranking. We are using footballs instead of stars, how can one argue against a system that clever? Below are the interpretations of football power predicted way too boldly long before it matters. In other words, we will give informed opinion with the crystal ball and let the players determine what will happen through years of hard work.

Criteria:
Raw talent, athleticism, position of need, intangibles.

GBMWolverine Message Board Staff Rankings:



10 footballs: Instant impact player.
9 footballs: Three or four-year starter at a high level.
8 footballs: A starter with all league potential.
7 footballs: A meaningful starter at some time during a career.

6 footballs: A spot starter or special teams player.
5 footballs: Not in the two deep after a two years.
4 footballs: Never made it.
1-3 footballs: See the above.

We have him at 7 1/2 to 8 footballs.

Side Note: Remember just as we did during the season with grading positions or groups we are very tough graders and expect a lot out of those positions or players so this is no different here.

Michigan Coach Tyrone Wheatley on Kareem Walker:

Kareem is a very intelligent young man who understands what he wants out of life. He is well beyond his years -- meaning that he had to grow up a lot faster and earlier than what was expected. Kareem has handled himself in situations where others would not have made it and he has done well. We are looking forward to big things from Kareem. He has the style of an Eric Dickerson, an upright runner with a great gate with great lateral movement.

Kareem is tough as nails and will put his face in there and block. One of the things that I’m most impressed with about Kareem is his ability to carry the load; I went to watch him carry the ball 20 times in the first quarter and he continued to play strong throughout the game without letting down with all the carries. He has a strong will to succeed. Kareem is a durable guy and just loves to compete. He is going to be a great addition to our backfield and someone we are excited to have in the Michigan football family.

Key Stats:

• Totaled 4,563 rushing yards and 55 rushing touchdowns in career
• Also caught 19 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns during prep career
• Rushed for 1,517 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior
• Gained 1,607 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns during junior season
• Rushed for 1,164 yards and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore

Honors:

• Played in the 2016 Under Armour All-American Game
• Scout.com five-star prospect and the No. 2 running back prospect nationally
• Four-star prospect by ESPN; ranked as the No. 31 overall player nationally in the ESPN300 and the top-rated running back prospect in the country
• Rivals.com four-star prospect; ranked No. 21 overall nationally and the No. 1 running back prospect nationally
• PrepStar Magazine Top 150 Dream Team, the nation's No. 2 running back and the 52nd-rated player nationally
• Two-time NJ.com first team all-state selection

In the Words of the Walker Family:

Kareem has worked very hard over the past three-plus years to become a great football player and better student. Kareem has faced some adversity during his youth, but persevered with hard work and effort to become the player he is today. He has done extraordinary volunteer work with youth football players in the inner city. He is a very low-key man off the field, but once he steps across the line, he flips a switch and becomes a physical, aggressive runner who can run over or run away from defenders. Kareem has mentioned that his goal is to be an impact player as a runner, receiver, and pass protector, a part of his game that he takes great pride in.

Overview:

Kareem Walker is a highly rated high school star with the skill to be a plus player at Michigan. He played for one of the top programs on the East Coast, where he rushed for over 1500 yards with 13 touchdowns as a senior and 4,563 yards and 55 touchdowns for his career. Kareem also caught 20 passes for 2 touchdowns over his career.

Strengths:

The number one attribute that impressed us was Walker’ continual improvement. He shows a high-end work ethic and has demonstrated that he takes well to coaching. Film shows Walker to be an uber-aggressive, physical runner who takes the fight to defenders, and he keeps his legs driving and feet moving; shows an above average burst and improved footwork as he progressed through his high school career. Kareem runs with good balance and a low center of gravity.

Concerns/Needs Work:

Walker breaks a lot of tackles, but he also takes a ton of hits. He runs upright and needs to learn to keep his pads lower. Walker also misses holes and does not see the cutback as well as we would like. Early in his career his hands were below average and his blocking was not very good. Kareem has improved to the point he could end up as a 3 down back.

Red-shirt or play his Freshman Year?

GBMWolverine Message Board Staff believes he will likely play his first year. If Kareem can improve his lower body strength, he has a shot at playing early. Perhaps his playing will increase as the year progresses. Right now he has a big advantage with enrolling early which will help prepare him for the football season and going through winter condition, spring ball, summer work-outs, summer classes, and then fall camp.

Kareem Walker reminds the GBMWolverine Message Board Staff of -- Former Michigan Football Player -- Ricky Powers -- who played Running Back.

Video Highlights:





2016 Michigan Wolverine Football Recruiting Class:

Michigan has twenty-eight signed commits at this time with Brandon Peters — Enrolled — (QB), Kingston Davis — Enrolled — (FB/HB), Michael Onwenu (OL), Chris Evans (Slot), Sean McKeon — Enrolled — (TE), Josh Metellus (S), Ben Bredeson (OL), Devin Gil (S/LB), Ron Johnson Jr. (DE), Brad Hawkins (WR), Ahmir Mitchell — Enrolled — (WR), Carlo Kemp — Enrolled — (DE/LB), Nate Johnson (WR), Devin Bush Jr. — Enrolled — (LB), Kareem Walker — Enrolled — (RB), Dylan Crawford (WR), Stephen Spanellis (OL), David Long (CB), Joshua Uche (DE), Elysee Mbem-Bosse (LB). Michael Dwumfour (DL), Eddie McDoom (Slot), Khaleke Hudson (LB/FB), Nick Eubanks (TE), LaVert Hill (CB), Quinn Nordin (K/P), Rashan Gary (DL), and Devin Asiasi (TE).

At this time Dytarious Johnson (LB) is still committed to Michigan, but has to complete some school work before his letter of intent will be accepted.

Final Thoughts:

We welcome Kareem Walker to Michigan and hope he has a successful career on and off the football field as a student-athlete at the University of Michigan. Go Blue!

Written by GBMWolverine Message Board Staff — CoachBT, Doc4Blu, and ErocWolverine

Go Blue — Wear Maize!