“They never noticed me” former sooners young star explains why he left the sooners.

‘I should’ve been established as the guy’: Tawee Walker explains why he transferred from Oklahoma

Brent Venables Says Oklahoma RB Tawee Walker Will Return This Week vs.  Kansas - Sports Illustrated Oklahoma Sooners News, Analysis and More

Tawee Walker had no intention of ending his career elsewhere but Oklahoma. After two years away from the game, he was seeking to revive his playing career at Palomar College, and the Sooners became the first major program to express interest in him.

But Walker had the tough choice to go for an opportunity elsewhere in 2023, following a “hectic” season in Oklahoma’s running back room. Soon after Oklahoma’s season concluded in the Alamo Bowl, he made his transfer to Wisconsin through the transfer portal in December.

In an attempt to better introduce himself, Walker, who finished as OU’s second-leading rusher the previous season, talked about his decision this week in a roughly 13-minute video that he uploaded to his YouTube page.

“I had the distinct feeling that I was — not imprisoned, but I’m at a loss for words— compressed. I’m simply not realizing my full potential, I don’t even know,” Walker remarked. “It seems like they kind of utilized me as a guy who’s like, ‘Dang, nobody else is doing anything,’ or as a third-down back. Tawee will act, I’m sure of it. Permit me to insert Tawee. I just think that instead of just mixing people up and seeing who will do what, I should have been established as the person or we should have had a one and two for the entire year.”
Walker is right when he points out that Oklahoma’s offense rotated a number of men out of the backfield in the early going and struggled to create a reliable rushing attack.

Following an offseason foot treatment, Jovantae Barnes—who finished 2022 as the second-leading rusher—had persistent problems. Early in the season, a hamstring injury hindered 2022 redshirtee Gavin Sawchuk, who went on to have a breakout performance in the Cheez-It Bowl at the end of that season. Walker saw an early-season opportunity as a result. He started the season’s first game against Arkansas State and for long portions of the year appeared to be Oklahoma’s most dependable option out of the backfield.

Though Walker was able to get tough yards (and “run through trash,” as Brent Venables would frequently say), he rarely saw the majority of touches, even when other running backs in the backfield were injured. This was in contrast to his 117-yard rushing effort against SMU in Week 2. He had zero carries against Tulsa the following week after his SMU effort, and he had a total of nine carries in Oklahoma’s opening two Big 12 games against Iowa State and Cincinnati.

After serving an in-house suspension against UCF, Walker led the team with 15 carries in the Red River Rivalry versus Texas. Tawee Walker was the one bright spot for the Sooners in an awful Kansas loss. Walker went on to have just 26 carries in total throughout the the final five games for the Sooners, averaging five yards per rush and finished the year with 513 yards and seven touchdowns.

During that latter stretch of the season, Sawchuk, on the other hand, became the team’s go-to option. He ran for 744 yards and nine touchdowns on 6.2 yards per carry, surpassing 100 yards in each of the Sooners’ final five games. In fall camp, DeMarco Murray wanted to find a workhorse lead back, but it wasn’t until Sawchuk’s rise that Oklahoma truly settled on a starting option at running back.

“I feel like at practice I did what I was supposed to do, and no one was establishing the No. 1 spot at the beginning of the season, but I feel like I did my part when I got my chance,” Walker stated. “Gavin performed incredible things towards the end of the season. He was due.

However, without a certain, after the opening game he got his chance; I can’t remember the specific game, but by the end of the campaign, he established himself. He accomplished amazing things. Nonetheless, I believe that nobody was truly firmly established in the top slot at the start of the season.

“I believe I ought to have confirmed that. Since I’m a true teammate first and foremost, I think that Gavin did what he had to do at the conclusion of the season, which he earned, but I think that the first half of the season should have seen more improvement since the running back room was just so busy. We were unaware of who was initiating each game.”

Walker continued, describing Oklahoma running back coach DeMarco Murray as a fantastic mentor and coach, and adding that his remarks were not intended as a jab at him, despite the fact that the two had “a couple issues” with each other during the season, which Walker would not go into further detail about.

Walker remarked, “It did nothing but make us stronger.” “I still adore him, and I have a good feeling he feels the same way about me. We no longer communicate due to restrictions and other issues, but after my time in college is up, I’ll probably speak with him once a week. I like that man. He wished for me to stay. I was reluctant to go. Simply put, it was the greatest circumstance for me to take care of my family, as well as the ideal circumstance for myself.”

Walker, who joined the portal after the regular season concluded but stayed with OU for the bowl game, explained that he finally decided on Wisconsin because to the university’s track record of producing successful running backs as well as the arrival of new offensive coordinator Phil

Longo, whose running back tandem at UNC in 2020 included Michael Carter and Javonte Williams, both of whom exceeded 1,000 yards rushing that season after coming close in 2019.

Walker still cherishes his time with the Sooners, despite his departure from Oklahoma. He said that OU will always be his first love and that he hopes to visit the school during a bye week this season (the Badgers are off on September 21, when the Sooners open SEC play at home against Tennessee, and Nov. 9, when Oklahoma visits Missouri).

Walker declared, “I bet on myself for this entire journey.” “I simply know that I put myself in that scenario when I went to the University of Oklahoma, even though I had no idea what would actually happen. I couldn’t accomplish anything if I couldn’t. However, I suddenly see why I’m doing this. I’m doing these actions because I’m confident in my ability. I knew I would survive that circumstance, which is why I put myself in it in the first place. It wasn’t an idle endeavor for me. I didn’t want to take the chance merely to play football; instead, I wanted the opportunity to care for my family and my son, and thus far, things have worked out for me. All I have to do is maintain my composure and keep moving forward.”

“I cherished every aspect about OU. I adore the supporters. one of the biggest fan bases in all of sports, not just college sports. I hope the fans miss me as much as I do, because I love and miss them.

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