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USC's Aundrey Walker not bothered by homesickness

The 6-foot-6, 350-pound offensive lineman has 17 siblings and is one of six players from states other than California who signed with the Trojans in February.

August 27, 2011|By Gary Klein
  • USC offensive lineman Aundrey Walker (70) during practice earlier this month.
USC offensive lineman Aundrey Walker (70) during practice earlier this… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

USC freshman Aundrey Walker is a large football player who comes from a large extended family.

The 6-foot-6, 350-pound offensive lineman from Ohio has 17 siblings.

Walker, 18, is the youngest of 14 brothers. He is the oldest of his mother's three children.

"It's a big, big family," said Walker, who grew up in a Cleveland household with his two younger sisters.

Walker's oldest brother is in his 30s, his youngest sister 11.

"I stay in touch with about seven brothers, my two older sisters, my two younger sisters and my mother, of course," he said, noting that many family members get together every year.

Walker was one of six players from states other than California who signed with the Trojans last February. He said he has not suffered from homesickness, which has afflicted several players in the last decade, most notably former receiver Dwayne Jarrett.

"I was [brought up] to be a man of my own — my brothers taught me that, my mother taught me that," Walker said. "So I'm just out here handling business. This is my job. It's my duty. God sent me here for a reason, so I'm just taking advantage of this opportunity."

Early in training camp, Walker spent time working with the first-team offense at guard. He has since been practicing as a reserve.

"I don't get frustrated," Walker said. "I'm a freshman and we've got great players on this team. I'm just out here working hard, grinding, getting to know my plays better and [working on] having better technique."

Taking shape

USC's starting offensive line is almost complete, with only left guard unsettled.

Junior Abe Markowitz appeared on his way to winning the job before suffering a foot injury.

Freshman Marcus Martin worked with the first unit one day last week and fifth-year senior Martin Coleman also spent a day at the spot.

Center Khaled Holmes and left tackle Matt Kalil were set before training camp, sophomore John Martinez appears to have earned the right guard job and sophomore Kevin Graf has solidified his grip at right tackle.

The 6-6 Graf was sidelined for spring practice while recovering from shoulder surgery. He reported for training camp at a slimmed-down 295 pounds.

"I just really started eating right, was in the weight room every day and made sure I got extra cardio in," he said. "I wanted to make sure that when I came out here I was ready to go.

"I think the coaches really see a difference in how much quicker I am off the ball and how I'm moving."

Quick hits

Coach Lane Kiffin had scheduled a walk-through closed to media and family members Saturday. Players reported to the field and were instructed to go to the nearby campus pool where they went swimming for an hour before they were given the rest of the day off, a school official said. The Trojans resume practice Sunday.

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