North County linebacker/running back Anthony Walker has accepted a full scholarship to Syracuse University, becoming the Knights' first Division I football player in their two-year history.

Walker, selected as The Anne Arundel County Sun's 1991 Player of the Year, has given a verbal commitment and said he will officially sign a letter-of-intent Wednesday morning, most likely at North County.

"I think it's very exciting for Anthony and the school, but more importantly, for his family and the community," said North County Principal William Wentworth. "I'm happy Anthony excelled on the athleticfield, but also that he did what he had to do in the classroom."

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Walker led North County to its first appearance in the 4A state playoffs this season, making 141 tackles (88 solo), two interceptions and two fumble recoveries in being named a first-team All-Metro linebacker.

Walker also accumulated 786 yards rushing and 194 yards receiving. He scored four touchdowns and had four others called back because of penalties.

The number that impressed most college scouts, however, was his 4.3 timing in the 40-yard --.

"He's a tremendous load running that fast," said North County football coach Chuck Markiewicz. "Scouts say he has great hips, he's flexible, he hits -- he's the whole package.

"He has the kind of tools you don't teach -- speed and a nose for the ball," said Markiewicz last November. "When you show him something, he picks it up right away. He's a student of the game."

Soon, he'll be a student at Syracuse,which he chose over other Division I schools because "I felt more comfortable with them.

"It's not that far from home, and they've been recruiting me since the end of last season, so I figured they really wanted me there," said Walker, 18, who canceled scheduled visits toTennessee and Maryland this weekend.

Walker knows where he's going, but he still must wait to find out where he's playing -- free safety or running back.

"Once I get up there and start practicing, they'll decide that," he said.

While Markiewicz often has said that the best collegiate position for Walker is safety, he added, "A lot ofteams are doing the one-back stuff, and you've got to be able to block. He's able to do that. For us, on offense, he was like another guard."

Walker led the county in rushing with 985 yards as a sophomore at Brooklyn Park, which merged with Andover the following year to form North County. As a senior, he won the Annapolis Touchdown Club's Rhodes Trophy, presented to the county's top player.

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