#CampRebel: Big Ten Vet Walls Expects Big Things At UNLV|
Aug. 8, 2016
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - Arguably its deepest position, the Rebels’ linebacker corps just got even better with the addition of a former Big Ten Conference player who joined the program this summer as a fifth-year graduate transfer.
LaKeith Walls (6-3, 235) will pursue his master's in higher education at UNLV while looking to earn immediate playing time in the LB rotation this fall. After a new coach staff entered in Champaign, the former Academic All-Big Ten honoree finished up his degree work in sports management and decided to try a change of venue for his senior season. Turns out another new Rebel – JC tight end signee Trevor Kanteman – also started out his playing career at Illinois and reached out to his former teammate.
“We had a coaching change last year at my school,” said Walls. “My boy, Trevor, hit me up a few times about coming out here. I hit it off with Coach (Tony) Sanchez and Coach (Kent) Baer so that made it an easy decision.”
After moving over to defense in 2014, the former running back from James Ford Rhodes High School in Cleveland, Ohio, appeared in 20 games for the Illini during the last two seasons and totaled 34 tackles, including registering his first career sack against Penn State. Walls said he’s still learning about football in the West.
“I didn’t know much about UNLV. I’m from Cleveland. I was talking to some other programs closer to the Ohio area but then I got to know more about the program, talked to Coach (C.J) Cox and I talked to (former UNLV and Cleveland Browns cornerback) Eric Wright, who said he really liked playing here.”
Sanchez said Rebel fans should plan on seeing a lot of LaKeith this fall at Sam Boyd Stadium.
“You get a fifth-year transfer, you expect him to be mature -- and he is -- but he also has a high-level of intelligence and is picking up some high-level different stuff here really fast. He is a guy who can make a major impact this year. He’ll battle to take someone’s job.
"It’s a loaded position with three starters returning and a ton of young depth and a lot of talent. The great thing is that they have different skill sets and you can plug athletic guys into a lot of different packages. We have a lot of options and Coach Baer sure knows how to use them so it’s exciting."
Walls said he is looking forward to helping a new team in a totally new environment.
“My main goal is to really enjoy this final year of college football,” said Walls. “I just want to bring an edge to the team. We have a lot of competition in the room. Coach Baer does a great job of coaching everyone up hard every day and giving everyone a fair opportunity. Ryan (McAleenan) and Tau (Lotuelei) are good senior leaders and Matt (Lea) is a good player too. I’ve been around them this summer so I know we are going to have depth and we all bring something different to the field.”
The squad will be back on the field Tuesday morning for the first day of full pads and will hold its first double day on Wednesday.
Practices are closed to the public except for two team scrimmages: Aug. 13 starting at 9:30 a.m. and Aug. 19 starting at 8:10 a.m.
Season tickets for the six-game 2016 home schedule start at $230 on the Sidelines and $130 in the End Zone. A limited number of Value End Zone Season Tickets are available in the North end of Sam Boyd Stadium for just $99. There is also a special two-game mini-plan still available.
Single-game tickets are also available. Advance prices start at just $35 on the Sidelines, $20 in the End Zone and $14 in the Value End Zone for four of the games (Jackson State, Fresno State, Colorado State and Wyoming) while premium-game pricing for the Battle for the Fremont Cannon vs. Nevada, Reno starts at $50 on the Sidelines, $30 in the End Zone and $20 for the Value End Zone. A special Friends & Family Night vs. Idaho features pricing at $20 Sidelines and $9 End Zone. Additional fees apply to all sales and all prices increase by $5 per ticket on the day of game.
Log on to www.unlvtickets.com or call (702) 739-FANS (3267) to buy yours today or for more information regarding ticket offers. Group pricing is available by calling Dan Johnson at (702) 895-1885.