GREEN BAY (Wis.) Devonte WyattHe doesn't like roommates. He’s not sharing a place with fellow Green Bay Packers‘Rookie Quay Walker.
“We’re not staying together,” Wyatt said with a smile. “I want my own house. He probably feels the same.”
Short of that, it sounds like they couldn’t be any happier that their journey to the NFL has them together again.
After all, they’ve shared just about everything else — from their success at the University of Georgia to their unlikely arrival in the same NFL city in the same round of the same draft.
So forgive them if they took a moment during last weekend’s rookie minicamp to reflect. Their first day at Lambeau Field was spent in the cafeteria along with second-year cornerback. Eric Stokes— Another ex-Georgia Bulldog, who was the Packers' 2021 First-round Pick.
“We were just talking, man,” Wyatt said, “talking about how amazing it is how we’re all on the same team, how we’re all at the next level [and]We have come a long way.”
Walker, the versatile linebacker inside, was picked by the Packers at No. 22 overall. Six picks later they landed Wyatt, a quick-footed defensive player who won hearts with his 40-yard dash at combine.
Although the transition to the NFL may not be easy, it might be easier if they do it together.
“I’m sure it’ll be comfortable for those two guys,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “Anytime you go into a new situation with a bunch of unknowns, and there is a familiar face there, I think that lends some comfort to those two guys. But you know, I do think we have a pretty impressive locker room, a lot of great veterans, and I think they’ll all take these guys under their wing.”
Walker: From hoops, to the gridiron
The 6-foot-4, 241-pound Walker was not a fan of football.
He thought only about basketball when he arrived in Crisp County (Georgia). That is until the football coach saw him doing slams in the gym.
“I wasn’t a football player at all,” Walker recalled. “He came up to me and just said something that stuck with me: ‘You’re 6-3, 6-4 and you’re playing power forward in basketball. That’s the normal height of a Division I point guard.' He said, “6-3, 6-4 is big football. So, try football.” I listened to him.”
Walker stated that he tried football in middle school.
“I didn’t like it at all,” he said.
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It was different this time. He found a home as a linebacker and, as he tells it, the scholarship offers began to pour in almost immediately.
“Listening to him was the best thing I could have ever did,” Walker said.
His instant stardom in high school didn’t repeat itself when he got to the SEC powerhouse. After three seasons, he was already playing in two games.
“It humbled me a whole lot,” he said.
“To be honest with you, I wanted to leave,” he said. “I’m not going to sit here and say I didn’t want to leave, but I really did. But I trusted it. Everybody’s plan is going to be different. Everybody’s not going to have an easy road, or however you want to put it. So I just kept my head down and kept working.”
He gave credit to the Georgia linebackers coach Glenn Schumann for convincing him that he should stay.
“They were like, ‘Just try to fight it on out and just see where we go from there,’” Walker said. “I’m glad they did that. It was because of this that I won the national title for my home team my senior year. [home] state, it don’t get no better than that.”
He finished his senior year with eight tackles, six quarterback pressures and the championship against Alabama. He was able to climb the draft boards, and he was drafted by the Packers in round one — a step further than basketball would have allowed him.
“Not too far,” Walked answered, when asked where he would’ve ended up as basketball player. “Probably up the road. I’d say Albany State, like 15, 20, 25 minutes up the road from me. Probably as far as I would’ve went.”
Wyatt: The path to elite
If Wyatt had not entered the NFL draft following the 2020 season, the Walker-Wyatt pairing might not have been possible.
Kirby Smart, Georgia coach bribed him to stay another year.
“He just kept it real with me,” Wyatt said. “Like, he said that no team sees me as an elite defense tackle. Deep down, I knew I was that elite defensive tackle, so that's what made me come back.”
He also had a February 2020 arrestmisdemeanor family violence, trespassing, and property damage charges — all of which were dropped later.
ESPN obtained an incident report from the UGA Police Department that stated that someone called 911 on Friday, February 21 and said that a man & woman were arguing outside a dormitory.
“During the argument [the woman]”Wyatt left Wyatt’s Room in Vandiver Hall, and returned to her dorm room in McWhorter Hall,” said the incident report. Wyatt followed Wyatt and kicked her door from the hallway multiple times, damaging it and forcing it to open.
In the report, a UGA police officer stated that neither party was in danger of their safety.
According to the Athens Banner-Herald Clarke County’s solicitor general said that the case was dropped after reviewing the evidence and consulting the victim.
“I definitely had moments in my career [when] it was hard, like with the off-the-field issues I had,” Walker said. “I definitely made a mistake. I definitely learned from my mistakes.”
Wyatt grew to 330 lbs as a junior on the field. Wyatt claimed he played between 300 and 305 in 2021. This allowed him to showcase his athletic abilities (see his 4.77 40 yard dash at the combine that beat even his Georgia defensive line mate). Jordan Davis– The 13th selection in the draft
His college career started with humble beginnings. He was forced to complete the junior college route at Hutchinson Kansas Community College before landing at Athens, Georgia. Walker became his bond.
“Four years ago, we [were]Like, “We want to be the first round.” This is what we want. We want to play together,'” Wyatt said. “Doing that now is just a dream come true.”
That is as long as they have separate living spaces.