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High School Sports

Adrian Walker Jr. Had Eyes In The Back Of His Head

12:43 PM EST on November 27, 2023

Adrian Walker Jr. catches interception behind his back.
Screenshot: Bally Sports Detroit

I skipped Sunday Night Football, just like Cris Collinsworth, but only so I could watch a different football game on TV instead. The Michigan high school football state championships were being played all weekend, and the last game, the Division I final between powerhouse Belleville and underdog Southfield A&T, promised a glimpse of some future Dudes. I didn't start keeping tabs on local football talent until well after I graduated high school—at my school, we once held a homecoming soccer game when the football team disbanded midseason for injury reasons—but I've since become a shameless homer, in the sense that I'll cheer for literally any athlete who grew up in a 50-mile radius of my home. Even if, as Sauce Gardner or Matt Judon have, they're giving my Lions a hard time.

Belleville, about halfway between Detroit and Ann Arbor, shot to relevance when a coach named Jermain Crowell took over the football program in 2015, and I knew the school well from my shameful second life as a Michigan recruiting sicko. Not long after he arrived in Ann Arbor, Jim Harbaugh made a comment about Belleville running their practices poorly and word got back to Crowell. So began their cold war. Jim and Crowell might get along better these days, now that they have something to bond over: Last year, just before the playoffs, Crowell was suspended for violating the state high school athletic association’s rules against recruiting players. The Belleville program hummed along without him, becoming back-to-back champs last year and looking for a 39th straight win to three-peat on Sunday. 

The obvious future Dude to watch was Belleville's five-star quarterback, Bryce Underwood, a likely LSU commit and the No. 1 player in the 2025 recruiting class. Underwood had his moments, making some Sunday throws to get Belleville back in a game they were losing 28-10 after three quarters, but I was even more charmed by the real gamer quarterbacking the other team, Isaiah Marshall, a three-star Kansas commit who made plays with his legs and didn't look like a three-star. So it is reluctantly that I share with you this fantastic highlight of him being picked off:

In the first quarter, Adrian Walker Jr., who might join Underwood at LSU, leapt to tip a pass from Marshall and then caught it behind his back as he twisted counter-clockwise in the air and landed on a knee. (It's not clear to me what about the circus grab is "one-handed." Maybe the last swat at the ball before he catches it?) Walker's knee was down, but he gave his offense good field position and they cashed in with their first score before the end of the first quarter.

Marshall would have his revenge, rushing in for the score on a last-minute touchdown drive he led to give Southfield a 36-32 lead over Belleville. The Belleville streak was snapped, and Southfield A&T won its first state title. You could call it one of the biggest upsets in Michigan high school football, but I've seen crazier things.

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