By Doug Gorman
Recruiting can sometimes be a nasty business filled with late-night phone calls from college coaches, nagging questions from well-meaning friends and family members tryng to get the inside track on where a player might end up once he signs his college scholarship.
It's enough to make the average teenaged football player run and hide.
But now one player from the Southern Crescent should be able to put some of that behind him.
Eagle's Landing Christian Academy senior Avery Walls announced Tuesday morning his decision to play college football at the University of California.
The Chargers' strong safety made his decision in a brief ceremony at ELCA after considering offers from more than 33 major colleges.
In the end, it came down to the University of California, Oregon and Michigan.
With all three college caps sitting side by side on the table, Walls first picked up the Oregon hat before putting it back down and placing the California hat on his head.
He then spoke to a gathering of family and friends at ELCA, thanking them for their years of support.
He also took time to especially thank his mother Yvonne Sebastian.
"She's gotten me through my entire life, and hopefully, she will be at every home game. Life is about taking the chances that come from God and that's what I am doing," Walls said about his decion to travel thousands of miles from home.
Walls played just one year at ELCA after transferring from Union Grove, but he helped lead them to a school best 12-1 record and a trip to the Class A quarterfinals where they lost to eventual state champion Clinch County in a game that wasn't decided until late in the fourth quarter.
Walls played on both sides of the ball for the Chargers this season.
Offensively, he accounted for seven touchdowns, and on defense he made 55 tackles and had two interceptions.
He is expected to play strong safety in the Golden Bears' secondary once he gets to the Pac-10 school.
"It was a hard decision. I wanted a degree that is going to last me a life time, and also give me a chance to play for a good football program, all three schools had plenty to offer." Walls said. "I don't think I could go wrong with any of these schools, but I just had to go with the school that was right for me."
Tuesday was a busy day for the college-bound football player. In addition to making his decision public, Walls also had to take care of some work in the classroom first, including taking his last final in high school.
When his report card comes out, it will be loaded with all As and one Bs.
Walls will graduate early and head to California in time to enroll in school in January so he can go through spring practice with the Golden Bears.
That's after playing in the Army All-American Bowl High School All-Star game January 8.
Walls and his family and friends had a discussion about his decision Monday night, but he even kept his final choice a secret from them until the very last minute.
"I wanted to put this decision in Gods hands," Walls said. "This decision not only had to benefit me because I'm going to be there for the next four or five years, but they are going to be my family."
Walls joined an ELCA team already loaded with talent, including wide receiver Christian Reeves, who announced his decision to play at Virginia Tech and lineman Matt Rochell, who is expected to sign with Air Force, but he quickly fit right in, both on and off the field.
"We are really proud of him," said ELCA head coach Jonathan Gess. "What I really liked seeing was how he became more of a leader and a hard worker. I really think that is what is going to propel him at the next level. We already had a lot of high profile kids on this team, but they all stepped in and they all became brothers."