Walker Niver is one of the top 10 All-World Readers’ Choice winners for this year’s football pre-season. He was the top pick for defensive linemen. The 6-2, 215 lb. senior from Sperry figures he owes the whole town of Sperry for winning the defensive lineman voting.
“Most of the time it’s the 6A schools that win just because of the larger population, so I think the whole town just came together because they wanted to see a small-town kid actually win it,” Niver said.
Had 80 tackles and 10 sacks for a defense that allowed just 11.6 points per game. Also rushed for eight TDs. Had 10 tackles, one sack and scored the final TD in a 35-14 win over Beggs in the 2A title game.
We keep hearing indications that Walker Niver is one of the toughest kids on the block.
Never mind that he’s sculpted like a Greek God or that he specialized in doing the dirty work on both sides of the ball last season, helping lead Sperry to the 2A state football title.
“Straight up hammer,” said Sperry coach Robert Park, a man of few words, describing Niver.
Niver was a tough kid before he ever played a down of varsity football. He proved it by joining his grandfather, Jimmy Coyle, in competing in arm wrestling.
Niver won tournaments in Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas and elsewhere, A dominant right-hander, he competed in separate brackets for left- and right-handers and seldom lost in his age division.
His arm wrestling career ended when he snapped his elbow before his eighth-grade football season.
“That’s when my dad said, ‘No more,’ until I was done with football,” Niver said. “It was fun, but it’s not worth missing more football.”
Today, Niver gets his kicks on the gridiron. He had 80 tackles, 10 sacks and scored eight rushing touchdowns last season, helping lead Sperry to its first state football title.
On offense, Niver is frequently used as a blocking back clearing the way for other runners. On defense, he shuttles between outside linebacker and defensive end, always lining up on the tight end side.
“He takes on the power and counter, which is no fun, and he does a great job at it,” Park said.
Arm wrestling has given Niver a powerful grip.