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Top Defensive Recruit Walter Nolen Sticks with Texas A&M on Signing Day

Aggies hold off late push from in-state Tennessee for nation's premiere defensive recruit

The biggest piece, literally and figuratively, of perhaps the nation's top college football recruiting class is officially in. 

Walter Nolen, the top defensive recruit in the class of 2022, committed to Texas A&M in November and will stick with the Aggies, he announced Wednesday. The Powell (Tenn.) High School standout sent in a National Letter of Intent to Jimbo Fisher on his staff as part of the Early Signing Period during the afternoon.

"I chose Texas A&M because Coach Fisher has been building a lot of good teams around there," Nolen told Sports Illustrated. "Seeing how that defense has progressed over the years, it's like 'wow, I can actually be a part of something like that and be a part of a team with the number one defense in the SEC. A team with one of the highest sack totals coming from the defensive line in the SEC.'

"I feel like that is a once in a lifetime opportunity."

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Tennessee hosted him for a late visit in early December and pushed for a flip for most of the cycle, but five trips to College Station (including one last weekend) created plenty of familiarity for the senior Volunteer State standout.

The Aggies entered the day with the second-most SI99 recruits on board, nationally, trailing only Alabama. As it continues to chase down the top recruiting class in the country, Nolen is the program's on-paper headliner as a truly disruptive interior defensive line prospect. 

Listed at 6'4" and well over 300 pounds, the jewel of the TAMU class isn't expecting to wait very long before seeing action in the SEC.

"They are getting a hard worker, a well-rounded person," Nolen says. "They are getting someone that, day one when they step on campus, they will be ready to compete and get a championship."

SI All-American Evaluation

Nolen has fantastic lateral movement and exceptional balance. One of the strongest lineman in the country, in and out of the weight room. We haven’t noticed an ounce of stiffness (common in taller defensive lineman), and he’s a missile out of his stance. He doesn’t get washed, he doesn’t over pursue. Nolen maximizes his talents within his team’s system, yet he remains the star of the show whenever he steps on the field m -- in any setting. His motor combined with his size/speed is enough for any college coach to drool over. Will make any college defensive line unit deeper the second he steps onto campus.