Sometimes football gets its hooks in you and never lets go.
In the early 1980s, Shea Walker, a member of the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022, was a dynamic wide receiver at Port Arthur Jefferson. He went on to play on two Southwest Conference championship teams at Texas A&M. Since the mid-1990s, he has been a color commentator for Texas high school football championship games.
In some form or fashion, Walker has been around Texas high school football for almost five decades. Because he played in an era before things like position-specific camps and 7-on-7 tournaments, being chosen for the Hall of Fame is especially gratifying.
“It is humbling, and I am excited,” said Walker, who now lives in The Woodlands. “This has given me an opportunity to reflect back on how good a team I was on. Not many teams at that time were throwing the football around the yard like we were.”
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In high school, Walker earned first-team all-state recognition for Port Arthur Jefferson, was the District 22-5A Offensive Player of the Year and garnered recognition as a Houston Chronicle Super 60 player. His junior season, Jefferson lost to Odessa Permian in the Class 5A (the highest classification at the time) state championship game, 28-19.
Calling high school football championships for Fox Sports and Bally Sports, Walker has definitely seen the game — and all of the accompanying pageantry — change in some ways. When it came to recruiting, for example, there were no cell phones when he was coming up, and there was no social media.
Other aspects of the game have stayed consistent, though.
“There are guys and teams I see doing the state championship games,” he said, “and they are doing warm-up drills like we did. We were doing something special 40 years ago, and you still see guys doing the same pass-catching and hand-eye coordination things.”
Walker’s day job involves providing services for municipal utility districts, but his moonlighting gig — partnering with Craig Way, John Heineke and others on television for the football state championships — remains a singular thrill, he said.
“I love it,” he said. “It is a treat to be a part of those broadcasts.”
Bally Sports honored Dave Campbell, the long-time editor of Texas Football magazine, during all of the 2021 state championship games, played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Walker said he will cherish and remember that for a long time.
“It was from the heart,” he said. “What an icon.”
In addition to being proud to represent a different era, Walker is also proud to represent the Beaumont-Orange-Port Arthur area of Texas, known in those parts as the “Golden Triangle."
Walker has been married for 30 years to his wife Lorrie. He has two grown daughters, Elle and Erin. Elle is a CPA and Erin is a registered nurse.
The Texas High School Football Hall of Fame’s annual induction banquet is scheduled for Saturday at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
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