Sometimes in life, all a person needs is a second chance. That’s certainly true of Temple defensive lineman Hershey Walton, who was given a second chance and took full advantage of it.
Walton did not have the grades to get into Temple out of high school, so he took an alternative route.
“I was a non-qualifier coming out of high school, so I went to Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia,” Walton says. “It was very strict, no cell phones, the only way to communicate was through letters. It made me become a better person and taught me a lot, especially as far as studying.”
After getting his grades in order, Walton enrolled at Temple, where he was initially an offensive lineman. But he knew that wasn’t where he belonged.
“They pushed me to defense, and I always knew that’s where I wanted to play,” he says. “I like going after people and making tackles.”
At 6-4 and 314 pounds, Walton is an intimidating presence on the Temple defensive line. Last season, he made 32 tackles, including four and a half tackles for losses, and he broke up two passes.
Walton enters his senior season having made 20 starts on the defensive line, but another of his accomplishments may be more impressive. After being a non-qualifier out of high school, Walton has now earned his college degree in advertising and has been on the American Athletic Conference All-Academic Team, something he is very proud of accomplishing.
“I never saw this coming,” Hershey says. “Coming from where I came from to now, it was a lot of work and working on my school work a lot. I’m really thankful.”
And he shows his thanks by giving back to his community. Walton was recently nominated for the AFCA Good Works Team, which honors players who excel in community service in addition to football.
Walton has participated in Walk A Mile in Her Shoes, an organization that is trying to end violence against women, as well as the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, which raises money for breast cancer research.
“I always think it’s important to give back to the community,” Walton says. “I have lost a lot of family and friends to cancer, so it was something I had to do.”
“As far as Walk a Mile, I respect women, I came from a woman and I think it’s important that we do that for them. They do so much and don’t get enough credit for it.”
When his career is over, Walton plans to try to make the NFL. But if that doesn’t work out, he’s got an education to lean on. Walton’s undergraduate degree was in advertising, but he is interested in another field, in one capacity or another.
“My overall goal is to have my own restaurant,” he says, saying it would likely have a bar food menu. “I cook for myself, my family sometimes. My cousin is also a chef, so I would be following in his footsteps and I have picked up that skill from him.”
And if the restaurant doesn’t make it, Walton can fall back on his dream job, to “be a food critic, so I could travel the world and just eat.”