We are …Strong. We are …Alcorn.

1 1 aWalker

Lorman, Miss. (April 11, 2014) – Life is full of moments—good, bad or indifferent—instants that can break or make an individual, says Alcorn Braves running back Arnold Walker III, senior mass communication major of Atlanta, Georgia. And for Arnold, most of his memorable moments include family and football, nothing matters more.

From as far back as he could remember Arnold loved watching football with his dad Arnold Walker Jr. and his brothers. And he could not wait for the chance to grip his fingers around a football, fake out his brothers and run for a touchdown. His mother Sonia Walker loved football too, but she also stressed education and the value of earning a college degree.

Arnold, a popular running back at Ronald E. McNair High School, who was listed at 5 feet 11 inches and 185 pounds, had an impressive high school career. He was named to the All-County team his junior and senior year and was named Offensive Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player his senior year, among other awards and recognitions. To culminate his high school career, Arnold scored the only touchdown to secure the championship for his team in the East and West County game.

Several coaches approached Arnold and his family about the opportunity to play football on the collegiate level. But Alcorn expressed interest in Arnold early and stayed in touch with him and his family. When his family traveled to Lorman, Mississippi, to visit Alcorn, they fell in love with the people and the splendid isolation and beauty of the campus. And Arnold felt a connectedness to Alcorn, he proclaimed, he was home and had a new family.

By the time Arnold had adjusted to playing on the college level, he suffered a devastating knee injury—torn ACL and left meniscus, his sophomore year in the first game of the season. From the moment of the injury, Arnold was lost, haunted. He thought of nothing but that moment and how it had ended his dreams of playing football. That was a horrible day indeed, Arnold says.

It just…came to me, he continues about that moment that changed everything. Alcorn was winning 26-0 and it was a fourth-and-3 play. As soon as I received the ball and broke the huddle something said to me, “call a timeout.” Why didn’t I call that timeout, why was I playing in new cleats, why did I go to the right into traffic and plant my foot so hard?

According to Arnold, I never considered the possibility of returning to the game. I gave up on football. My family rallied around me, including my Alcorn family and they were both speaking the same positive message. With hard work, I could return to the game I loved, but it’s going “to be tough.” Two weeks after the injury, Arnold had surgery and immediately began minor rehabilitation at home and then the road to recovery included physical therapy twice a day for five days a week for about five weeks. Every day Arnold received encouragement from his families via phone calls, emails and social media messages from fellow Alcorn students, employees and alumni.

When Arnold returned to “the yard” he was greeted with more love, smiles and words of encouragement. And then another moment, something just awakened inside of me and I knew I couldn’t let my family down, reflects Arnold.

“I found my strength in my family,” recalls Arnold with a wide smile and glowing eyes. “We are a strong family. We believe in one another. And we are always there for each other, no matter the need.”

As Arnold continued to work hard toward his return to prominence on the field, he faced the uncertainty of knowing if his new head coach, Jay Hopson, and offensive coordinator, Willie Simmons, would give him the opportunity to prove