Record-setting Walker set to join ETSU Athletics Hall of Fame

Jeff Birchfield • Sep 17, 2019 at 4:51 PM

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one of a five-part series on the 2019 class of the ETSU Athletics Hall of Fame that will be inducted during a ceremony Friday night at the Carnegie Hotel.

Records are made to be broken and Brandon Walker can’t wait until some of his are.

Walker is the all-time leading rusher in East Tennessee State football history with 4,095 yards. It’s a title he would gladly relinquish.

“I’m proud of it, but I would like somebody to break it,” he said. “That way, the program is headed in the right direction.”

He’s also the Bucs’ all-time touchdowns leader (43), the all-time scoring leader (264) and all-time rushing attempts leader (776). He also set records for most 100-yard games in a season (eight) and in a career (17).

Among his single-game records, the one that stands out is a record number of rushing attempts (37) against Georgia Southern. It was no accident that Walker had the ball in his hands so much as the No. 9-ranked Bucs won 17-14 over the Eagles.

“Georgia Southern had told me that I wasn’t good enough to play there. Coach (Mike) Cavan told me I would start against Georgia Southern if I didn’t any other game,” Walker recalled. “That’s why I have the record of running back with the most carries.”

It helped that Walker had the drive and determination to succeed.

He was the Southern Conference freshman of the year in 1996 and an all-conference selection a year later. He was part of the 1996 team that beat Villanova 35-29 in the first round of the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs in Johnson City before heading west to Montana.

“Playing Villanova, that was something fun to bring to Johnson City and how the crowd supported us.” Walker said. “There was the big game with Marshall playing against Randy Moss and the Dome was packed (in front of a record crowd of 13,131). My first year was definitely memorable.”

During his career, Walker played with quarterbacks Greg Ryan, Jamey Chadwell and Todd Wells. It was special when Wells became the starter as Walker explained how they grew up together in Georgia.

“I’ve known Todd since I was five years old,” Walker said. “We played t-ball, basketball, football. We played sports every year growing up.”

It was the football field where Wells and Walker excelled the most.

Walker set the Bucs’ single-game record of 242 yards in a 41-29 win over Charleston Southern in 1998. Three years later, he played for the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League.

He heard the news he was an ETSU Athletics Hall of Fame inductee from Bucs athletic director Scott Carter.

“It was a proud moment and to get the call from Scott Carter, where we played together, it was exciting to hear from him,” he said. “He was my fullback and he was excited to tell me. It’s something I can share with my kids. Someone can tell them how good I was, but this is something they can actually see.”

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