Miami Booker T. Washington running back Mark Walton orally committed to play for the University of Miami on Sunday.
Walton — only a sophomore — becomes the second Class of 2016 recruit for the UM coaching staff, joining Cocoa cornerback Chauncey Gardner (5-11, 170 pounds).
Walton said he called linebackers coach Micheal Barrow while the UM coaches were in a meeting and head coach Al Golden was ecstatic about receiving Walton’s pledge.
“I told Coach [Golden] ‘I’m ready to join the family,’ ” said Walton, who also had brief conversations with wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Brennan Carroll, offensive coordinator James Coley and running backs coach Hurlie Brown during the call.
Walton grew up a Hurricanes fan, and picked up a scholarship offer from the coaching staff during the summer. He knew he wanted to announce his pledge Sunday and consulted fellow Booker T. Washington teammates and UM commitments Nigel Bethel II (cornerback) and Chad Thomas (defensive end) before calling the Hurricanes coaches.
“It’s a family thing going to the University of Miami,” said Walton, whose defensive end teammate Demetrius Jackson is also a UM commitment. “I always said if I had the opportunity to go there, that’s where I wanted to be.”
Although Walton has more than 2 years to sign his National Letter of Intent, he said he’s not worried about how his commitment is perceived in the meantime.
“If you know where you want to be, then why not [commit]?” he said. “I haven’t thought about it in a negative way.”
For now, Walton is just trying to enjoy his moment.
“I’m very excited,” Walton said. “Right now, I’m speechless.”