July 8, 2010

Fort Collins holds special place for Walton

New Mexico quarterback Dustin Walton could probably sum up his summer in two words - windshield time. The 6-foot-4, 223-pound signalcaller has been in camps and thrown for coaches at UCLA, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Colorado State and Arizona State, as well as an Elite 11 Camp, the Steve Clarkson Finale and the Bob Johnson Quarterback Camp all in hopes of picking up new scholarship offers.

His summer in the car isn't over yet. In the coming weeks he will drive to Alabama to throw for the Crimson Tide coaches before ending up in Fort Collins to attend a camp at Colorado State.

"Everything has been really good," Walton said of his summer. "I've got a lot of exposure. Picking up the two in-state offers was big for me. I think a lot of coaches look into if the in-state schools offer you. If the in-state schools don't want you, I don't think a lot of other schools want you.

"If you are from a small town, you have got to get out to the camps to get your name out and get some exposure," he continued. "If I would have stayed out here all summer and spring no one would know about me except the in-state schools."

Last season Walton led the Raton Tigers to a 10-2 record and a state, Class 3-A semi-final appearance. Walton was the field general of the Tigers' spread offense, completing 64 percent of his passes a year ago for 3,381 yards, 39 touchdowns and nine interceptions. As a sophomore, he completed 50-of-73 passes for 743 yards and eight scores.

He holds scholarship offers from New Mexico, New Mexico State and Colorado State, which was the first to offer.

Walton said he doesn't have a list of which schools he favors in the quest for his services, but said he hopes to be able to bring in an offer from the Crimson Tide during his visit to Alabama. If that doesn't happen, he is happy with the choices he has left, saying he would be satisfied playing for the home state Lobos, the Aggies, or even Colorado State.

"I have always sort of wanted to go in-state," Walton said. "Just sort of be the home-state hero, but I am ready to go elsewhere if I need to. I kind of want to get away from New Mexico and do my own thing for a while. I would love to come in and represent NM in an in-state school, but I am prepared to go out there on my own."

Walton said he is being recruited to Colorado State by quarterbacks coach Daren Wilkinson and plans on attending the Rams' camp on July 31.

"I don't really have a front runner or a list, but Fort Collins really stuck out, the city in general," Walton said. "I am really interested in CSU. I loved the campus, loved the town and loved the coaches. It is somewhere I could see myself going and living for the next four or five years."

Walton said he is aware of the Rams' top two quarterbacks going into the season are freshmen, but isn't concerned about the relative closeness in age. He said he sat the bench for two years in high school and thought it did a lot to help him learn the system and develop. He said by the time he would come off a redshirt year, Pete Thomas and Nico Raineri would both be Juniors.

"I know they are already there, but if it is the right place for me, I am going to commit," he said.

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