Northwestern star linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. has been chosen by his teammates to wear the coveted No. 1 jersey this year.
Walker Jr. had sported the No. 18 uniform in his previous years in Evanston.
Fitzgerald announced Walker’s selection at the team meeting to open training camp on Sunday afternoon. Northwestern holds its first practice Monday morning.
“The No. 1 jersey, in our program, is used to recognize the young man who truly embodies the values and character of the Northwestern football family,” head coach Pat Fitzgerald’s description reads. “It is worn by someone who consistently dedicates himself as a great teammate, an excellent student and an influential member of our community. It is more than a flashy number. Here it represents a way of life.”
Last year, defensive tackle Max Chapman had the honor of sporting the No. 1. Walker is the first non-senior player to earn the honor since Tim Hanrahan also wore it as a junior in 2013.
It’s yet another honor for Walker Jr., who has been recognized by ESPN as one of the nation’s top players, named to the Sports Illustrated All-American second team and various preseason watch lists (Bednarik and Butkus) and been dubbed “The Franchise” by his teammates, leading to an impressive line of marketing (including his own superhero identity). He was named the top linebacker in college football by Sports on Earth this offseason as well.
Walker Jr. was a third-team All-American last year, leading a defensive renaissance of epic proportions for a team that had struggled in that area over the previous few seasons