Walters to lead Cardinal against Wildcats Saturday
Arizona's defensive backfield has a challenge a little tougher than Wesley Morris of Hawaii this weekend as they travel up to Palo Alto to take on Stanford.
His name is Troy Walters.
At only 5-foot, 8-inches, Walters is lightning fast and has the ability to break away from any defense.
A returning starting flanker, he has added kickoff and punt returner to his list of occupations for a young Cardinal team this year.
When asked what he thought of his added role on the team, Walters said, "I like it. I am willing to do anything to help the team. It gives me an opportunity to have the ball in my hands and make things happen more often."
Walters was named a preseason All-America after a 1997 campaign in which he had 86 receptions for 1,206 yards and eight touchdowns.
"It is good to be recognized, but they are preseason honors. The real honors count at the end," Walters said. "I use the honors to make me work harder and reach my potential."
The difference between last year and the potential he has this year may lie in the hands of his new quarterback, Todd Husak.
The young and inexperienced Husak replaced Chad Hutchinson, who is now trying to pursue a baseball career in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system.
"Todd did play a little last year and did a great job when he came in," Walters said. "He will do a lot better once he gains some more experience."
On Saturday, Walters will be lined up against another preseason All-American in UA's Chris McAlister.
"It is a great challenge for the team and me as an individual," Walters said. "McAlister is a great corner and a matchup against him just shows you where you stand."
Last week, in a disappointing home loss to San Jose State, Walters caught six passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. He also added three kickoff returns for another 71 yards in his first game as a special teams returner.
"Troy had an average day," Stanford head coach Tyrone Willingham said. "He'll have great days to come."
Walters understands that Arizona is different from San Jose State and that this is a big game for Stanford's confidence.
"Arizona has a good team in all three phases, offense, defense and special teams. We have to bring our A game to contend," he said.
The future is now for this top receiver in the Pac-10 , who is originally from College Station, Tex. He is just 64 receiving yards shy of being 10th on the all-time Cardinal receiving list. The top record is 1,785. He is also just two touchdowns and 16 receptions away from being in the top 10 in Stanford history.
Dan Rosen can be reached via e-mail at Dan.Rosen@wildcat.arizona.edu.