Will Walker loves football.
But one year ago he wasn’t sure if he would be able to continue playing the game he loved so much. Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, Walker’s body wasn’t performing the way it had in the past. He lost a lot of weight, and was starting to lose hope.
Losing hope that he would be able to continue playing and competing in sports like he had before. Losing hope that his life would ever be the same.
Walker had a loving and supportive family at home, but there weren’t a lot of reasons for optimism as he looked to the future.
However, as summer 2021 approached he registered for the BYU Specialist camp, where he would be able to try kicking again and interact with other athletes. The BYU camp proved to be a turning point for Walker in his journey back to competitive sports.
“The atmosphere was so positive and the players so encouraging. I surprised myself and did well at the camp. As a result of that camp, I started to believe in myself again.”
Others rallied around Walker, including Ryan Rehkow—BYU’s star punter.
“Ryan reached out and was an incredible mentor on and off the field. He helped me build my confidence, which carried me into my freshman year at Riverton high school.”
Walker’s hard work and newfound confidence landed him a spot on the varsity football team as a freshman. As kicker, he had touchbacks on most of his kickoffs, went 3-for-4 on PATs, and nailed all three of his field goals.
Riverton had an outstanding season, finishing 8-4 and advancing to the second round of the Utah 6A playoffs, their highest finish since 2014.
Walker attributes most of his success to the coaches, trainers, and mentors that have supported him.
“Since meeting them at the camps, I have developed incredible friendships with each of the [BYU] kickers and I train regularly with Ryan Rehkow. Coach Fowler has also been awesome and has helped me out a ton at the BYU camps. Coach Morgan [Riverton head coach] also believed in me and reinforced that with hard work I could accomplish my goals.”
Walker took the momentum he gained during the football season and performed incredibly well at national exposure camps held over the winter and spring. He is now recognized as the no. 2 kicker and the no. 2 punter nationally for the Class of 2025.
He also competes in track and field and recently broke the Utah freshman record in the pole vault—vaulting an incredible 13 feet.
Walker has figured out how to live with type one diabetes and has been able to put on 60 pounds in the last year. He now stands above his peers at 6-foot-4 and 180 pounds, and has a great outlook for the future. “I look forward to helping others who are struggling to believe in themselves.”
Hard work is rewarded, and after another incredible camp at BYU this week, BYU offered him a full scholarship—something unheard of for a kicker at such a young age.
Walker immediately accepted the offer and committed to play for BYU.
“I am so grateful to be a part of the BYU football family. I have grown up watching BYU and have always dreamed of being a Cougar.”
Cougar nation will be able to see Walker continue to grow and develop for several more years of high school as well as a planned LDS mission before he steps on campus to kick for the Cougs.