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Arizona football: Keenan Walker decides to leave Wildcats

Another blow to the offensive line depth

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After two years of not playing and barely practicing with the team, Arizona Wildcats offensive lineman Keenan Walker has announced that he will be leaving the program.

Walker came to Arizona as one of the highest-ranked recruits of the Rich Rodriguez era. According to 247Sports’ all-time recruits list, Walker was the sixth best recruit since the year 2001 that Arizona had landed.

As a member of the 2015 recruiting class, Walker came to Tucson as an obvious redshirt candidate after suffering a knee injury in his senior year of high school. But then with his redshirt freshman year on the horizon in 2016, Walker was arrested in Scottsdale in mid-July on suspicion of assaulting a bouncer outside of a nightclub.

When the team reconvened for camp that August, Walker’s status with the team was very unclear, with Rodriguez saying that the offensive lineman’s non-participation in practice had to do with an injury instead of disciplinary actions.

Walker never saw game action, and every time a question about his status came up, Rodriguez did his best to dodge it with some sort of “banged up” or “out of shape” answer. These could explain why Walker’s tweet says “But now, it’s ball time” at the end.

Arizona’s offensive line depth should be very concerning for fans entering the 2017 season. The group was arguably the worst performing on the team in 2016, and now there’s the very real possibility of barely having a two-deep of scholarship players. Throughout spring practice, there weren’t even enough offensive linemen to field three groups, and the recruiting class is notably absent of any additions to this particular position.

It will be interesting to see if Walker can land somewhere and actually put everything together to reach his true potential.