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Photo: Darryl Dyck
Courtesy: USF Athletics

Catching Up With Chevon Walker

Courtesy: USF Athletics
          Release: 07/11/2012
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Photo: Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

USF football alum Chevon Walker is quickly making a name for himself with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League (CFL). The 24 year-old, who amassed 819 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Cougars in 2010, is second in the CFL in rushing yards (169) and eighth in receiving yards (153). He's also tallied three scores for the Tiger-Cats (0-2), including touchdown sprints of 89 and 95 yards. We did a Q & A with Chevy after practice on Tuesday. 

1. What led you to the CFL and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats?  

CW: My agent arranged for me to participate in an open camp that Bob O'Billovich (Tiger-Cats' general manager) held in Lakeland (Fla.) last April. I ran a timed 40 (4.28) and did some other drills. It was a real good workout and they offered me a contract the same day. 

2. So you signed a free agent deal AND got to keep your USF jersey number.

CW: Our equipment guy actually knew that I had worn #29 at USF and asked me if I wanted to keep the same number.  

3. You’ve racked up three touchdowns and 322 all-purpose yards only four games into the 2012 season. What’s allowed you to make such a big splash?

CW: I bring speed to the table and right now I’m a big part of the offense. But to be honest, I’m not focused on my numbers. We are 0-2 and need to find a way to win games. We’ll get there; with new coaches and new guys on the field there’s been a lot of adjusting, but we’re going pick it up and my teammates and I know what we have to do to win games. 

4. What’s it like playing football in Canada?

CW: I already had a passport because I was born in Jamaica, but in terms of football it’s very different. The field is ten yards longer so kicking is huge component and the end zones are also twice as big. There’s no fair catch rule in the CFL but no one on the kicking team can go within five yards of the ball until a player on the receiving team has touched it. The kicking team also scores one point if the returner fails to get the ball out of the end zone. Trust me, I’m still learning the game.

5. What are CFL fans like?

CW: The Hamilton fans are great; we average more than 25,000 fans a game. They’re very supportive but they don’t like it when we lose and I don’t like it either.

6. The Tiger-Cats' roster has players from all levels of football; NCAA D-I powers, D-II teams and players from Canadian universities. What has it been like playing with such a diverse group of guys?

CW: It’s been fun. We all have had different experiences with the game and bring different things to the table. I think it makes us a more talented team. 

7. Have you experienced any culture shock playing north of the 49th parallel?

CW: A lot of guys on the team speak French, so that’s been a fun challenge but I’m sure I’ll pick up some French in the near future. It’s really been fun to experience a different culture; years from now I’ll be able to say that I played professional football in Canada and that’s pretty cool.

8. What do you do in your down time?

      CW: We practice 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and I’ve been staying after practice to get some extra work in with my coaches; it’s definitely a job and I want to get better at it every day. I’ve been to Toronto but other than that, I’ve just been hanging out with my teammates and trying to get adjusted to things up here.

     9. What are your goals for this season and moving forward? 

      CW: My plan is to make a name for myself in the CFL and to help us make the playoffs and win the Grey Cup. I want to get to know my new teammates and keep getting better, both in practice and during games.

     10. Anything you want to add?

I want to thank Coach Stugart, Grubb, Tucker, and the rest of the USF coaching staff for taking me in and giving me the chance to play for the Cougars. They reached out to me at a time when I wasn’t even sure that I wanted to play football anymore, and being at USF for my senior season made me a better football player and a better person. I also want to thank all of my former USF teammates, who were always positive and a good group of guys. 

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