Kentucky football DT Deone Walker will garner immense draft hype in 2024

Kentucky v Georgia
Kentucky v Georgia / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

Kentucky football star defensive lineman Deone Walker is set to emerge as one of the prominent draft picks in the 2025 draft based on his solid play the past two seasons. As the 2024 season approaches, Walker will have the opportunity to further strengthen his draft stock and emerge as one of the top commodities in next year's draft.

Walker, who stands at 6-foot-6, 348 pounds, was a dual-sport athlete while having attended Cass Tech High School in Detroit, Mich. The Kentucky defensive lineman played basketball and football for the Technicians, but his overall stature and skillset geared him towards football. Walker garnered 15 tackles for loss along with six sacks during this senior season, which contributed to his four-star recruit rating and offers from prominent schools such as Alabama, Georgia, LSU, and Michigan just to name a few.

The Michigan-native signed with the Wildcats in 2022 and quickly made an impact on the defensive line. In 2022, Walker accumulated 40 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, one sack, and a forced fumble that earned him a spot on the All-SEC second team in 2022 as a freshman. Walker's instant high-level of play put him on the map as one of the nations top defensive players.

After a promising freshman campaign, Walker followed it up with a 7.5-sack (eighth in SEC), 55-tackle 2023 season for the Wildcats. In 2023, the Wildcats ranked 17th in the country in rushing defense (3.27 yards per rush), led by Walker who led the team in sacks, tackles for loss (12.5) and quarterback hurries (8).

Walker is accredited for his superb quickness and lateral burst despite his near 350-pound frame. Due to his overwhelming stature, the former four-star recruit can hinder rushing lanes and can fight through frequent double teams at the line of scrimmage.

Additionally, Walker exhibits effective swim moves to get by offensive linemen or can straight up go through them due to his raw power and strength.

In this clip, Walker's elite footwork and quickness are on full display. The star defensive lineman is an absolute force on the line of scrimmage and he has only improved with each passing season.

And 247Sports currently ranks Walker as the second-best interior defensive lineman returning for the 2024 season (behind star Michigan football defensive lineman Mason Graham). Walker's strong start to his collegiate football career has shaped him to be a potential top-10 pick in the NFL draft next April.

Kentucky football will head into its 12th season under head coach Mark Stoops, as the program is coming off a 7-6 overall season that culminated in a loss to Clemson in the Gator Bowl.