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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

All Access with Pierre Walters

Eastern red-shirt senior defensive end Pierre Walters has been inundated with preseason awards for the 2008 football season. He was named a preseason All-American, the Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year, and he is a finalist for the Buck Buchanan award. Walters recently sat down with Staff Reporter Rick Morse to talk about his start in football, his favorite memory on the field and the inspiration he’s received from his father.

What was the first team sport you played?

The first organized sport I played was football. Growing up I was a basketball guy. I didn’t really like football. I mean, I wanted to give it a try, but people would always tell me I was too small, but I was 6’2, 160 pounds freshman year, so the football coach tried to get me to come to camp.

I went and we did some drills. It was all down hill from there. I didn’t know too many positions, and since I couldn’t throw, I wanted to play running back. They put me at tight end since I was so tall. I ended up playing tight end, defensive end and returning kicks.

What is your favorite memory on the football field?

My favorite memory on the field would go back to 2005 down at Jacksonville State playing for the (Ohio Valley Conference) Championship.

They went for it on fourth and goal on the one-yard line, and they ran a dive option play to my side of the line. As a red-shirt freshman, I’m thinking “Oh crap!” I was just hoping I could make the play. We ended up stopping them and won the game 10-6. That has to be it, just the atmosphere and playing for the championship.

How has playing football helped you off the field?

Off the field, it has definitely helped me with personal discipline. To be involved with a sport like football, especially at this level, you have to be more responsible. You really don’t want to get up at 5 a.m. to run in the snow when you have class at 8 a.m., but you do it anyway.

Things like that can really mold a person into a well-rounded individual.

What is your favorite moment so far at Eastern?

My two friends on the team, Ryan Bennett and Donovan Johnson, meeting those two guys. We’re all so different in our own way, but we all have the same goofy personality. We don’t look like it – because of our size – but we might be the goofiest guys on the team. That’s probably my favorite thing at EIU.

What is your favorite sport outside of football?

Outside of football, I’d have to say boxing.

I love team sports and everything, but there is something about the dedication and hard work that it takes to be a boxer.

It takes putting in long hours by yourself and with a trainer.

To me it would get boring.

I like working out with the team and everything, but I have a lot of respect for the individual sports.

Would you play another sport besides football?

I probably wouldn’t be playing much of anything, but if I had to be playing another sport, I’d probably still be running track.

A tall, 220-pound guy running hurdles.

I don’t know if I would be too good at it at the collegiate level, with all these small quick guys, but that’s probably what I would be doing.

What was your favorite part about the Olympics?

I watched as much as I could, but my two favorite parts were obviously watching Michael Phelps. It was amazing. When I’m in the pool doing laps it’s hard for me to make it up and down the pool, and Usain Bolt too with his domination, and of course the United States basketball team. It was great to see them win the gold medal.

Who is the most influential person in your life?

It has to be my father. Ever since I’ve known him he’s been working. He is such a hard worker. He would tell me stories about everything from his childhood in Mississippi working on the farm, to being in the Vietnam War, to living in Chicago working three jobs. It’s all worked out for him.

Now he has a decent home and a great family. He’s always done things the right way – with hard work. So I’ve tried to grab some of those traits and run with them on the football field and in life.

What is currently playing on your iPod?

I have a Zune. I have a little bit of everything: Lil’ Wayne, a little Coldplay, The Bravery, TI, early 90s hip-hop like Notorious BIG, Pete Rock and CL Smooth. I’m pretty flexible. Everything but country. Anything else you could probably find on there.

What are your plans after graduation from Eastern?

Hopefully I can do something with this football thing. I’ve been blessed with all of this and have a legitimate shot of playing at the next level. If it doesn’t work out and I don’t get into the NFL right away, I’ll go home and work for a while. But hopefully I’ll get the chance to play at the next level.

Rick Morse can be reached at 581-7944 or at [email protected] .

All Access with Pierre Walters

All Access with Pierre Walters

Red-shirt senior defensive end Pierre Thomas celebrates with senior cornerback Adrian Arrington during an Eastern home game last season. Thomas said his favorite moment at Eastern so far has been meeting his two best friends red-shirt senior defensive end

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