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Nation's Top DL Walter Nolen Announces Plans to 'Shutdown Recruitment' and Make a Decision

Elite 2022 Defensive Lineman Walter Nolen appears ready to make his college decision.
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2022 Cordova (Tenn.) St. Benedict at Auburndale Defensive Lineman Walter Nolen sent shockwaves across the social media world Sunday after announcing he will be shutting his recruitment down and making a college decision.

Nolen, arguably the nation's top prospect in 2022, is fresh off an official visit to Florida and a camp with the Michigan staff last week. Both of these schools have been relentless in pursuing the elite prospect, while practically every other school in the country has jockeyed for position or tried to claw their way back into the race.

One of those programs being Tennessee, and according to multiple SI All-American sources, Nolen spent extensive time in Knoxville checking out the new staff on Thursday before heading to Gainesville for his official visit.

On April 2nd, Nolen publicly released at top eight of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon, and Southern Cal. At the time, he stated his intentions of making a decision closer to signing day.

With his timeline apparently significantly advanced, it is unclear when or where the elite prospect will announce, but it is safe to bet he will continue to be recruited until he signs his letter of intent.

Below is a look at what Nolen told SI All-American in April about each school he was considering before publicly releasing his list.

On Alabama: "I just feel like Coach (Freddie) Roach can help me get where I want to be, and just being able to play for the coaching staff they have is a pretty great opportunity. They have been saying, look at what they've done in the past and how Alabama defensive linemen are prospering in the NFL."

On Florida: "When I was at IMG (Academy), I feel like that helped better our relationship and me being able to talk to them and them just being two to three hours away. It was just a good chance, so being a college town, they are one of the biggest college towns you can think of, so that helps them. Eventually, when you get to college, you have to think about, you are going to share reps with the best because everybody is there for a reason, and you have to take that into consideration and get every opportunity you can. I feel like with Florida's offense getting off the field a lot it gives a chance for their defensive linemen to get more reps."

On Georgia: "It is just like once I dropped my top 10, they picked it up a lot. They have picked up the speed, and now, I am talking to them every day, and just being able to get on zooms and get on the board with them has been pretty good and just showing me how they would use me on the defensive line and stuff. After the UA camp, we drove to Athens and drove around the campus for a bit. It was pretty good, even though I couldn't get in contact with coaches and stuff. It was still good to be able to ride around campus and see it."

On LSU: "It is just the relationship I have been building with Coach O (Ed Orgeron), and I have been steadily building on it. It is just one of my better ones. They have been just saying other schools want you, but we need you and stuff like that."

On Michigan: "Just talking with Kody (Jones) that has been my childhood friend. We have been playing football together forever, and being able to take that to college would be great. Talking with Coach (Mike) Maconald and Coach (Ronald) Bellamy and all of them and just being able to talk to them about using me as a defensive lineman and defensive end. I feel like that is a defensive front I would want to be in. They have told me they would use me all across it."

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On Ohio State: "Just talking to Coach (Ryan) Day and Coach (Larry) Johnson, it has been one of my better ones. Just watching some of the guys in my class commit, I feel like it would be one of the best opportunities for me to team up with some of the people I would like to play with."

On Oregon: "They are just saying I have a big body frame, and with my athleticism, I will be able to play on the inside and the outside. They are saying with their linebackers behind me it will free up the opportunity for me to take the one-on-ones. That is what I like."

On USC: "When you talk about building your brand, I mean that is probably one of the biggest cities you can go to with the name, image, and likeness stuff coming up. Just being able to play for Coach (Vic) So'oto and them is a great opportunity, not just as a football player but as a business person."

The Trojan pitch includes the potential to pair with Korey Foreman, the SI99 trench talent from the class of 2021.

"I mean, it would be great," Nolen said. "Going there, me or him would have to take on a double team at some point, and it would give the other the chance to go one-on-one and just end up being one of the best duos of defensive linemen in college football. He has told me he doesn't regret his decision, and it would be a great opportunity for both of us to get our names out there.

"He is one of the top defensive linemen in the country, so it would be a great opportunity."

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