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Elite DL Walter Nolen Talks Recruitment, Visits, and More

Sports Illustrated's top defender in the 2022 class breaks down the latest in his recruitment.

Jacksboro, Tenn.-- Elite 2022 defensive lineman Walter Nolen took the field for Powell (Tenn.) as Matt Lowe's Panthers rolled to a 40-7 victory over Campbell County in a game that would determine the top seed in the district going into the playoffs. Following the dominant performance, Nolen discussed the game, his recruitment, visit plans and more with Sports Illustrated.

"I felt like the defense played great all the way until the end," Nolen said of the performance. "Our JV team got a lot of work in, and they played strong to the end. Overall, I thought our team played great."

Now, with the pivotal game in the rearview, Nolen will have a quick turnaround as he is set to head to Texas A&M for a weekend official visit. He has already definitely a strong bond with Jimbo Fisher's program, and he will look to build on that this weekend.

"I am just trying to see them compete against Bama," Nolen said. "Bama is number one right now, so just seeing if they can stay up with Bama."

Nolen has an official visit planned to Alabama when they play LSU on November 6th, and the following week he will use an official visit when Tennessee hosts Georgia.

Nolen has always been intrigued by playing at school that has a high octane offense that puts up points and allows the defense to be on the field to make more plays, and he has been impressed by the Vols start under first-year head coach Josh Heupel.

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"Just seeing them work every day and improve every game," Nolen said about what has stood out the most. "I mean, you can't do anything but work every day and improve as a team and as a new coaching staff, work with the new players coming in, and build the program."

Tennessee once faded in Nolen's recruitment, but his relationship with Rodney Garner has the Vols firmly entrenched in the battle for the nation's top defender. Not to mention the production Nolen has seen from Garner's defensive line unit this fall has caught his attention.

"Just seeing how they adapted to the new coaching staff and that they are playing better under the new coaching staff," Nolen said about what has stood out the most with that group.

The Vols will don new alternate unis this weekend, and Nolen was one of many recruits to comment on this on Twitter. While going somewhere with alternate uniforms is not a make-or-break factor in the elite prospect's recruitment, Nolen does like the alternate uniforms and hopes to see more.

"I mean, it doesn't really matter to me," Nolen said about how big of a factor something like that is, " But I like that black, and hopefully they are going to bring the gray back too.”

With multiple visits looming, Nolen is still unsure of when a decision could come for him. By mid-November, he will have three more official visits behind him, which will go a long way towards the final decision, so only time will tell when he will announce a decision.