Elijah Walton’s connection with Army offensive line coach Mike Viti was instant.
Walton respected the former Army football captain’s straightforwardness with the realities of West Point. The Harlan (Texas) linebacker received his Army offer from Viti in March. And, Walton committed to Black Knights when Viti visited last week.
“Coach Viti is HIM,” said Walton, who announced his commitment Saturday. “He’s always going to keep it real and tell you straight up how it is. I appreciated that he was willing to tell me not only the good but also the bad, which made it even better that he was the one to give me the offer to West Point.”
Walton told his parents that Army was the college football program for him as he left his unofficial visit on Junior Day in mid-April. He waited to take more time for research and to talk it over with his family. The wait is over. Walton is the first Texas commit of Army’s 2024 recruiting class.
“I know what I want and that’s to serve my country and play Division I football at the greatest leadership school in America,” Walton said. “After football is over and the ball goes flat I know that after West Point my life will be for the better.”
Army is recruiting Walton, who 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, to play will linebacker. Walton had 68 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, three sacks, two interceptions (one returned for touchdown) in eight games his junior season.
Academics also played a role in Walton’s decision. He plans to study cybersecurity at West Point.
“I want to own my own cybersecurity consultant firm one day and with West Point being fifth in the country in cybersecurity I know that I’m in a good place academically. I know that there’s opportunities to get leadership experience in the military cyber workforce. So needless to say, I didn’t make the decision for right now or the next four years. I made a decision for the next 40 (years).”
Walton’s unofficial Army visit is still a vivid memory. Parts of the campus tour reminded him of scenes from the Harry Potter movies.
“When arriving at West Point and getting the tour, I could feel the rich history from the historical buildings all around to the monuments and plaques scattered through the campus,” Walton said. “I even joked with my family that West Point looked like Hogwarts driving through the hills of campus and especially the mess hall. It was such a cool experience.”
Walton credits Count Down City Prep for originally sending his highlight film and transcripts to Army. He filled out a recruiting questionnaire and about one week later received his first offer from the Black Knights.
“It was incredible to feel that wanted,” Walton said.
Sums up Walton’s Army recruitment.
2024 commits (6)
TE Grayson Baker, 6-7, 242, Wachsett HS, Holden, Mass.: Other offers – Air Force.
DE-LB Will Brockmeier, 6-4, 215, Gulf Coast HS, Naples, Fla.: First offer – Army
QB Mikal Davis, 6-foot, 200, Imhotep Charter HS, Philadelphia, Pa.: First offer – Army
TE Bryce Jaworski, 6-4, 245, Wausau (Wisc.) West HS: Other offers – Air Force, Ohio
TE Ryan Vanscoy, 6-4, 230, American Heritage HS, Delray Beach, Fla.: Other offers – Navy
LB Elijah Walton, 6-1, 200, Harlan HS, San Antonio, Texas: First offer – Army.