South Forsyth seniors Sam Walker and Isaiah Williams verbally committed to Army football after taking an official visit together this weekend.
Walker and Williams are two of the first commitments for new Black Knights coach Jeff Monken, who was hired Dec. 24, 2013, after four seasons as the head coach at Georgia Southern.
Walker and Williams’ commitment gives South three players verbally committed to Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I) schools, and all are pledged to military academies. Offensive lineman Kyle Watford is committed to Air Force.
The two announced their commitments Sunday morning on Twitter.
"[Isaiah] Williams and I are official committed to play football at the United States Military Academy #goarmy" Walker tweeted.
"Proud to say that I am committed to play football at the United States Military Academy with my partner in crime [Sam Walker] #goarmy" Williams tweeted.
Both were first-team all-county and all-region players this past season. Walker was second in the county with 408 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 32 catches, while Williams was second in the county in rushing with 1,033 yards and eight touchdowns on 161 carries.
Walker and Williams always had a plan for their college football future. Best friends since they were 9 years old, they joked about playing for the same school. It would be weird, they thought, to not hang out or take the field together.
But with two weeks left until National Signing Day, the chances were bleak. Walker, a 6-feet-4 athlete, had a handful of offers. Williams, a 6-foot running back, had none. Walker was intrigued by Air Force. Williams had begun to apply to schools where he might walk on the football team.
Then the college coaching carousel turned Walker and Williams’ chances around. When Jeff Monken was hired by Army after four seasons at Georgia Southern, he took most of his staff with him, including Brent Davis, who had recruited Walker and Williams for the Eagles. Now at West Point, he called Walker and Williams on Jan. 8 and offered both scholarships.
The two flew together for an official visit this past Friday. They toured the campus and football facilities, learned about the academy’s academic credentials and Monken’s vision for the football program. They even went to a firing range where they shot M4 carbine assault rifles.
"That was pretty cool," Walker said. "We had a great time."
"Everything was just prefect about it," Williams said.
On Sunday, before individual meetings with Monken, the two had a brief meeting. Williams told Walker he was going to commit. Walker said he would, too.
Twenty seconds later, Army had two new commitments.
"It just offers so much," Williams said. "First of all, it’s Division I football. … It’s one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world. It’s just that balance of what I have been raised in."
"The biggest thing is after football," Walker said. "A graduate from West Point, you’re set for life with all the benefits you get from that education."
When they officially sign their national letter of intent on Feb. 5, both say they intend to go to Army’s preparatory school, the equivalent of taking a redshirt.
"Everything that I’ve worked hard for has paid off," Williams said. "And I get to do it with my best friend."