Prep football | Returning defensive lineman Walton packs punch for Bayshore Bruins

Lone returning defensive lineman packs punch

jdill@bradenton.comMay 20, 2014 

BAYSHORE GARDENS -- There are two types of football players: Those who strive to score touchdowns and those who just want to hit someone.

Elliot Walton fits in the latter category.

The Bayshore rising junior is the only returning starter on the Bruins' defensive line this spring.

But Walton isn't flummoxed by his expanding role as a defensive leader.

"There's going to be some yelling," Walton said. "They're like my brothers, so there's going to be arguing and stuff like that. But (I'm) just making sure everybody is working together."

Walton, who garnered postseason accolades as a Herald All-Area honorable mention selection after Bayshore went 3-7 in head coach Elijah Freeman's first season, has begun the process of taking his game to the next level.

College interest abounds for the 6-foot-2, 220-pound defensive end. And that's due to an offseason trip to Orlando for the Nike Football SPARQ Combine.

"It made me feel like it was my first step, taking that first step to hav

ing colleges noticing me," Walton said.

Upon arriving to Bayshore, Freeman heard about Walton's hitting prowess at the junior varsity level.

However, the varsity game is a step up with bigger and faster players.

That didn't prevent Freeman from using Walton last fall, and the rising junior flourished.

"When you turn on the film, every game he's in the opposing backfield," Freeman said. "... He manages to get through against everybody."

That even comes when dealing with double teams, where Walton has tried making himself smaller to slip through the cracks of the offensive line.

Despite his talents, Walton said there is always room for improvement.

"I need to work on get off and of course get stronger," Walton said. "And build confidence in myself."

Walton also said he's looking to gain speed. He already has the quickness to come off the edge to reach the opponent's backfield, but Walton is striving to lower his 40-yard dash time.

Currently, his 40 time sits around 4.8 seconds. Freeman said he'd like to see Walton add another 20 pounds or so to his frame and drop the 40 time to around 4.6 to 4.7 seconds.

To accomplish those goals, Walton runs with a parachute at home on a routine basis and keeps at it in the weight room with his junior year approaching -- a pivotal season for high school recruits to get noticed by colleges.

"When he's playing with a high motor at a high level, I think he's one of the best ... defensive players in this area," Freeman said.

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