After a tough road getting there, running back Matt Walter is ecstatic with the recent CFL draft results that give him a bright future to look forward to.
Unlike five peers who were drafted beside him, he decided to defer his play in the pros after long deliberation. Last Wednesday he announced to the Calgary Herald his intentions of going back to school to finish his degree and see through his football eligibility at the university level before going to the big leagues.
"It was a really tough decision, definitely really stressful," said Walter. "Especially right before the draft, knowing there was a good chance I wouldn't be drafted because of [the decision]. I had a few moments after announcing it that I felt a lot of regret and nervous about my future."
In a press release, Dinos head coach Blake Nill said he supports Walter's decision.
"Matt will play in the CFL if he wants to. I'm sure of that."
While Walter is unsure if his teammates will return to finish their degrees, they are definitely taking the fall semester off to play in the CFL.
"Unfortunately, in my case I have to complete my courses in succession so I wouldn't be able to take the semester off. I would have to take them in the fall or withdraw from the program so that's what had me in a bind."
The room of players anxiously awaiting to hear their name called on draft night slowly turned into a room of cheer after all six players on the board were drafted. Teammate wide receiver Anthony Parker was drafted third overall and wide receiver Nathan Coehoorn fifth to the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos respectively. Three Dinos, all offensive linemen, were drafted in round four: Paul Swiston to the Blue Bombers, Alexander Krausnick-Groh to the Roughriders and Reed Alexander to the Alouettes.
Walter was drafted in the fifth round, 34th overall.
"It's pretty huge," said Walker. "I did drop a few rounds in the draft, which is fine but the main point is that I came out a draftee. It honestly couldn't have worked out better, I am just extremely happy. Basically it was the perfect scenario for me, with Calgary drafting me and how they view me on their team and as a future prospect, so being able to take that year is huge for me and I am glad they were willing to do it that way."
A huge part of Walter's decision came because of the inflexibility of his degree in petroleum land management.
"Originally, I wanted to go into geology because my brother did it," he said. "I ended up realizing geology wasn't the most feasible option with playing ball so I switched into business. I could stay in oil and gas and have the geology part as well which worked out really nice."
Walter will be joining Parker for the Stampeders camp in June and playing pro for the 2012 season after he finishes school.
"I am going to play ball as long as my body or skills allow me to. I will definitely go back to working in the oil and gas industry," Walter said.