Jamir Walker enters the University of Regina Rams record books
Although the University of Regina Rams have had a record-breaking season for all of the wrong reasons so far, defensive back Jamir Walker managed to stop the trend and turn things around.
In fact, Walker is used to turning things around to make them go his way. This interception specialist recently set a school record for most interceptions in a career with 11.
On Sept. 24, in the Rams’ away game against the Alberta Golden Bears, Walker registered two interceptions, which allowed him to overtake defensive back Steve Ryan for the top spot on the school’s career-interception list. Ryan played with the Rams from 2003-07 and held the previous record with nine-career interceptions.
Since Walker already holds the school record for most interceptions returned for touchdowns in a single season (five) and the record for the longest interception returned for a touchdown (87-yards), it was only fitting that he be at the top of the standings in overall interceptions as well.
For Walker, though, the game is not about personal achievements. In fact, he was relatively unaware that he had the potential to have another record-breaking season this year.
“I didn’t really know how many picks I needed to break the record,” Walker said. “I just found out on the field during the Alberta game, when Steve Famulak (Rams defensive back) said, ‘Congratulations on breaking the record’, so it was kind of a shock to me.”
Even after finding out that he was a three-category record holder, Walker remained modest about his own accomplishments, merely laughing when asked how he felt to be in the school’s record books: “Ha, it feels pretty cool I guess.”.
Walker is well aware that personal records mean nothing if the team isn’t doing well, and for the rest of the season Walker hopes to achieve a goal as a team, not just by himself.
“I hope to accomplish what the rest of the team wants to accomplish,” Walker said. “To try and win as many games as possible and advance through the playoffs towards the Vanier Cup.”
Walker already has quite an impressive resume without the U of R record. His resume includes a Canada West all-star nod and a CIS first-team all-Canadian selection in 2010, as well as a city and provincial high school championship with Sheldon-Williams Collegiate.
Walker has found a definite style of play that has allowed him to achieve greatness at a young age, a style which he believes is not modeled after any particular player.
“I wouldn’t say there is a specific player I look up towards,” said Walker, who is in his fourth year of eligibility. “I just look up towards all the players at the next level in the CFL and the NFL. I try to watch what they do and see how those guys play since they’re the best in the world.”
If the future is anything like the past, then Walker is sure to have an extremely successful football career that will continue long after he finishes university. For Walker, that would be a dream come true.
“I would like to see myself playing some more football at the next level, which will require hard work,” said Walker, when asked where he would like to see himself in ten years. “But, if football doesn't work out, I would like to earn my kinesiology degree in sports management and hope to work in that field when I’m older.”
Walker and the Rams were on the field in game action on Sept. 30, when they went to war with the Manitoba Bisons. Regina had beaten Manitoba 15-7 in a pre-season matchup, but that was before the Rams were bitten by the injury bug over and over again.
The Rams were coming off of a win against Alberta, a game that saw not only Walker play well, but the entire team come together, including yet another new quarterback. Converted slotback Zach Oleynik was awarded the start in the pocket for the second game in a row; after throwing four touchdown passes in the Rams 38-14 win over the Golden Bears.
Things did not exactly go the way the Rams had planned off the start of the game against Manitoba, as they found themselves down by a major on the very first play of the game. Converted defensive back Taylor Wandler, who took over the kicking duties for the injured Chris Bodnar, had a rocky start to his new job when Manitoba’s Nic Demski was able to return the opening punt 100 yards for a touchdown.
With that, the Rams found themselves down by seven after just 18 seconds of play. After Manitoba gave up a team safety, the Rams were down by five going into the second quarter. Things went from bad to worse as Manitoba’s Anthony Coombs was able to dash two yards into the end zone to finish off a four-play, 34-yard drive to put the visitors up 15-2.
The Rams registered their first touchdown of the game seven minutes into the second when Adrian Charles finished off a lengthy seven-play, 88-yard drive with a two-yard scamper into the end zone, bringing the Rams within six points of the Bisons.
Regina pulled one point ahead of the Bisons with just seconds left in the second when Brendan Owens reeled in a nine-yard pass from Oleynik to cap off a 14-play, 82-yard drive spanning just over four minutes. Regina took a slim one-point lead heading into the break, but immediately built on it when action resumed.
The third quarter was all Wandler, as he hit a 25-yard rouge, a 36-yard field goal, and then a 32-yard field goal to give the Rams a little bit of breathing room heading into the final frame.
The Rams and Bisons traded field goals in the final quarter, but ultimately the Bisons just couldn’t keep up with the Rams, who went on the win the game by a score of 26-18.