December 10, 2023

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — 4 minutes and fifty-three seconds.

Although it felt like extra, that’s how lengthy Tez Walker was down on the sector in Bobby Dodd Stadium final week earlier than the medical workers helped him off the sector. He took an enormous hit to his facet towards Georgia Tech and even had a participant roll onto his ankle in the course of the play.

Coaches and gamers huddled collectively to hope over him as he gathered himself. North Carolina’s teaching workers contacted his household to offer them updates. Walker went to a neighborhood hospital and stayed in a single day earlier than flying again and returning to campus the subsequent day.

As jarring because the scene initially appeared, Walker made certain to let Mack Brown know the way he was feeling earlier than he left the sector, giving him a easy “sure” when his head coach requested him if he was okay.

North Carolina’s recreation on Saturday towards Campbell was a reassuring sight, with Walker catching two passes for 2 touchdowns within the 59-7 dwelling victory.

“I took a few meds, bought taped up,” Walker mentioned. “I used to be fantastic in warm-up and pregame.”

The workforce monitored Walker all week, initially watching him for a head damage. It was his ankle that in the end bothered him, and he wound up being a game-time choice for a midday kickoff towards Campbell.

“About 11:58,” Brown mentioned jokingly when requested when UNC made the decision to play Walker.

For a second, it appeared that Walker — who already had a delayed begin to his UNC profession on account of an eligibility battle with the NCAA — would once more miss an prolonged period of time.

However Walker wasn’t going to permit that to occur. He pushed all through the week to get again onto the sector.

“I’m not too huge on sitting out,” Walker mentioned. “If I can play, I’m gonna go and go attempt to go full velocity. So sitting out, that’s gentle to me. Gamers attempting to exploit stuff and attempting to not play on goal to save lots of themselves, and I’m identical to ‘Man, if I can go, I’ll go.’”

(Picture: Jim Hawkins/Inside Carolina, 247Sports)

Walker spent the week main as much as the sport getting remedy on his ankle. He wasn’t certain if he’d be able to go along with the soreness he nonetheless skilled on his ankle. Brown even mentioned that he wasn’t going to play him towards the Preventing Camels if he was nonetheless feeling sore.

Actually, North Carolina may have rested Walker to gear up for the three convention video games it has to shut the seasons. However to Walker, the opponent didn’t matter. He merely wished to play.

“It speaks to his toughness,” Bryson Nesbit mentioned.

Walker went again and watched the play the place he bought injured. He felt it was a clear hit from Georgia Tech’s Ahmari Harvey and simply a part of the sport.

He didn’t sleep in any respect whereas he was within the hospital. When he bought again to Chapel Hill, Walker was exhausted. His roommate, Gavin Blackwell, introduced him dinner as soon as he returned in order that he wouldn’t have to depart the room.

Lots of Walker’s teammates checked in on him upon his return to campus. And on Saturday, Walker made probably the most of his return to the sector.

“Tez may have very effectively mentioned, ‘I’m simply gonna go work with the scouts and I’m by means of,” Brown mentioned. ‘“I don’t wish to get damage. I don’t wish to damage my draft standing.’ He was preventing to get again and preventing to get again to taking part in a recreation he knew we had been gonna win anyway as a result of he wished to get again on the market and assist his workforce.”

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