Living and playing for Walker Wilbanks - - Jackson, MS

Living and playing for Walker Wilbanks

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The Jackson Prep football team is forced to continue on after the tragic passing of a teammate.

Walker Wilbanks' teammates, classmates, and coaches have been reflecting on the impact he made on all of their lives. 

Ricky Black, Jackson Prep's football coach, said that Walker was a "unique character" and that he had the kind of personality that draws everybody in. 
"He's just a fun loving guy. You couldn't take him seriously half the time, that's how silly he was," Worth Eskrigge, his teammate told us.

Chuck Box, Jackson Prep's baseball coach, said, "He was the type of boy that every father wanted. He always had a smile on his face. He always had time for people."
Haynes Horsley, another teammate, described Walker as one of the silliest people he's ever met.  

"He would've loved everyone in a circle talking about him."

Jackson Prep returned to practice a day after the passing of their beloved teammate and friend Walker Wilbanks, ready to continue on with the season with a blessing from the Wilbanks family, especially his father, David. 

"He wants us to dedicate this season to Walker," said Eskrigge. "We had already said that, but to hear Mr. David say that...pretty much saying he's going to be here for us even though he's had such a loss that just happened in his life...that was pretty moving." 

Walker was a reigning state champion in two sports, leading the Patriot baseball team in RBI's this spring as the team's designated hitter. 

Coach Box told us one of the "coolest" things he's heard in the last couple of days, since Walker's passing.

"He was our 5 hole hitter. Rob Huffman was our 4 hole hitter. They kind of had a back and forth all year. They were really great friends, but they would go back and forth. Walker was our DH. Rob got on him one day and told him 'you're a third of a player. You don't play defense, you don't really run the bases. All you do is hit'. Walker had a great comeback. And I noticed the other day Rob posted 'I may have joked with you about being a third of a player, but you were 5/3 a human being.'"

The football team will no doubt honor Walker throughout the rest of the season, mainly in the way they carry themselves. 

"It's just really hard to honor a guy like this," said Coach Black. "There's no appropriate way we can do it. We can signify it with numbers and decals and stuff. But I think we will just honor him with the way we live as gentleman and the way we play as athletes."

Horsley said, "Feels like we need to get to work, play in honor of Walker. Not play for Walker, that's what we're saying. We're going to play in honor of him. Cause he's still with us."

Jackson Prep's game this week at Copiah Academy has been moved to Saturday night, as Walker's funeral is on Friday.

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