Editor’s note: This will be a periodic notebook highlighting Loyola graduates playing sports in college.
Bobby Walker sees extended action for Illini: At a game that celebrated the University of Illinois football dads, Illini redshirt sophomore tight end and 2015 Loyola graduate Bobby Walker earned the most playing time in his college career Saturday against Indiana in Champaign.
With his dad, Bob Walker, in attendance at Memorial Stadium the 6-foot-4, 230-pound preferred walk-on was the team’s primary blocking tight end.
“It’s pretty cool to get to this point,” said Walker, who’s from Golf and a graduate of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Glenview. “I’ve always wanted to contribute. All the work I’ve put in is coming to fruition. It was definitely rewarding.”
Bobby (pictured above) said his main responsibility Saturday was as an extra blocker to protect redshirt sophomore quarterback Jeff George, Jr., and support the running game. He said he ran some routes, but he wasn’t targeted as a receiver.
“I tried to be as physical as I could,” Walker said. “The coaches liked what I did. I watched film [Sunday] with the position coach, and he said I played with good effort. It wasn’t perfect and there is room for improvement, but I am definitely showing progress.”
Walker made his first career catch on Sept. 29 against Nebraska, a reception that went for seven yards. His Illini debut came in last season’s opener against Murray State.
Next up for Walker is earning himself a scholarship.
“Maybe this gets me closer,” he said. “But knowing I played a significant role in a Big Ten game was important to me. I look forward to the rest of the season.”
Illinois (2-8, 0-7 Big Ten West) plays at Ohio State on Saturday and closes out the season Nov. 25 at home against Northwestern.
Tommy Herion to New Hampshire: Quarterback Tommy Herion, a 2017 Loyola graduate, is transferring from University of Iowa to New Hampshire for the 2018 season.
A preferred walk-on for the Hawkeyes, the 6-1, 185-pound Herion cited future playing time as the main factor in his decision. He visited the Durham campus last weekend and attended the Wildcats’ 16-6 win over Elon on Saturday.
“I have high expectations for myself, and I think New Hampshire is a better fit for me,” said Herion, a Chicago resident and St. Juliana graduate. “It’s a successful program, and I know I have a better chance to play there.”
As New Hampshire is a Football Championship Subdivision team, Herion will be eligible for the 2018 season. He said he will enroll at the school for the Spring semester, which starts January 23.
The Wildcats (7-3, 5-2 Colonial Athletic Association) conclude the regular season Saturday on the road against Albany. They are looking for their 14th consecutive trip to the FCS playoffs.
Next season New Hampshire plays both Colgate and Holy Cross. Herion was teammates with Colgate freshman offensive lineman Jack Badovinac and Holy Cross freshman offensive lineman John Brekke on last year’s Loyola team that finished second in Class 8A.
Photo credit: Craig Pessman/Illinois Athletics