Nolan Catholic is making its annual run through the playoffs with a special athlete flying around the football field, making plays in all three phases.
Daniel Walker could be described as a late bloomer for the Vikings (11-1), who are preparing for their TAPPS Division I state semifinal matchup with Houston St. Thomas at 1 p.m. Saturday at Temple Wildcat Stadium.
Blessed with size and speed at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds with a time of 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash, Walker broke through as arguably one of the top playmakers in the area as a senior.
"It just became a confidence thing for him," Nolan coach Joe Prud'homme said. "Once he realized that he could play, it became a totally different game for him. It was a real eye-opener for him this year starting with the first game of the year."
On offense, he leads Nolan in receptions (22), yards (581), yards per catch (26) and touchdown catches (7). He leads the defense with five interceptions, including one he returned 28 yards for a TD in a 53-38 victory over Houston St. Pius X on Saturday.
Walker is perhaps most dangerous in the return game. He has returned four kickoffs for touchdowns, with his longest coming on a 105-yard return in a 35-29 win over archrival Plano Prestonwood on Oct. 15.
Walker sealed Saturday's victory with a 60-yard punt return for a TD, his third of the season.
"He gives us that game breaker factor," Prud'homme said. "He's a kid that can take a regular play and turn it into a touchdown or something game-changing at all times. You have to always know where he is as an opponent."
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760