Walter Nolen Releases Top 3, Florida Gators Not Included

A surprise, the Florida Gators were not represented in the top three for elite 2022 defensive lineman Walter Nolen.
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The No. 2 prospect nationally and No. 1 interior defensive lineman according to Sports Illustrated All-American, Powell (Tenn.) 2022 recruit Walter Nolen has officially released his top 3 schools, including Texas A&M, Tennessee and Georgia on the list. He announced his list via social media on Tuesday.

All three are rivals with Florida, with Georgia being one of the program's biggest rivals. The Gators will ultimately have to look elsewhere as it looks to improve the interior of its defensive line in 2022 and beyond.

Nolen, 6-foot-4, 325 pounds, visited Florida twice in early June after in-person recruiting reopened, once officially on June 4 and again unofficially on June 11 before traveling to Bradenton, Fla. for the Under Armour Future 50 camp, where he earned the honor of best defensive lineman in attendance.

The visits appeared to at the time leave a good impression on Nolen, which led him to tweet his considerations about shutting down his recruitment while he was on UF's campus. That wouldn't come to fruition, and it appears many jumped the gun as Florida didn't make it to his finals cut after all.

Nolen's father, also named Walter, expanded upon his son's recruitment with SI All-American in July, sharing why Florida could have been an appealing school to the younger Nolen.

"Florida has a good [coaching] staff," Nolen Sr. explained. "Coach [David] Turner's a good coach. We enjoy talking with them. Dan Mullen is a good guy, and it feels like home down there as well. I think Dan Mullen is probably the biggest factor for Florida because, to be honest with you, I cannot remember who Florida's coach was before he got there."

You can read our in-person evaluation of Nolen from Future 50 below. A dominant lineman who can slide from nose tackle to defensive end, Nolen compiled eight tackles, two tackles for a loss, one sack and one forced fumble in his first game for Powell this season.

Walter Nolen: An unstoppable force.

In a camp setting, it can be challenging to get an authentic feel for the pure dominance top-rated lineman impose on their counterparts. However, in Bradenton on Saturday, Nolen was widely impressive both in individual drills and in one-on-ones.

Performing well on both inside and outside of the line, Nolen’s rare speed would be on display, running a whopping 7.03 three-cone drill at 325 pounds, 0.8 seconds faster and 40 pounds heavier than Aaron Donald during his combine tests. Exhibiting several effective pass rush moves on the day, Nolen’s toolbag — which includes an uber-effective spin move he used on multiple occasions — is uncharacteristically well-versed for someone of his stature.

With top-tier offensive line prospects like LSU commit Will Campbell or IMG product Tyler Booker failing to slow Nolen down in any capacity, it was clear his ranking as a top recruit in 2022 is no overestimation of talent.

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