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Walls siblings suit up for Yellow Jackets

POSTED: April 30, 2008 5:01 a.m.
Robin Michener Nathan/The Times

Left to right, Logan, Levi and Lance Walls pose for a portrait on the Georgia Tech practice field on Monday evening.

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Torina Walls knows her three sons are living out their father’s dream. She says her late husband Sandy Walls, who passed away from injuries sustained in an accident in 1994, wanted to see his sons succeed athletically.

That dream has now come true with a remarkable twist. This trio of brothers are now all playing Division-I college football, and all on the same team.

Levi, 23, Lance, 21, and Logan Walls, 19, — all Dawson County High graduates — are now playing college football together at Georgia Tech.

"I’m really proud of my sons," their mother said. "I’m very blessed to have three sons all playing at Georgia Tech together.

"Sometimes it doesn’t seem real."

None of the three brothers ever imagined they would end up playing together in college. Only Logan, a redshirt freshman defensive tackle, was recruited heavily out of high school. This 2006 Times Elite 11 pick decided to stay at home and play for the program he grew up cheering for instead of heading far away to other schools he was courted by like BYU or Hawaii.

Logan was the last of the Walls brothers to enroll at Georgia Tech. His older brothers joined the football team as preferred walk-ons and pay for their school with the HOPE scholarship.

The Walls brothers are often the center of attention among their teammates with the close bond they have together. They spend as much time together as possible off of the field whether it be eating, playing any number of sports together or even video games on Logan’s X-Box 360.

With their age difference this is the first time all three brothers have played together on the same team.

"I think it’s awesome having my brothers on the team with me," Logan said. "I got homesick a lot as a freshman and they really helped me out."

Other players and even coaches get in their two-cents worth joking around with this light-hearted group of brothers. The names on the back of their jerseys is an easy target with the need to include two letters of their first names.

"Some people call us Le Walls, Lo Walls and La Walls because we all have names that start with L," Levi said.

Just this week, walking back from practice with the Walls brothers, one of the Yellow Jackets’ offensive lineman Michael St. Denis chimed in, ‘I must be an honorary Walls brother for the day.’

"I always say I have three brothers on the team," Lance added with a laugh. "(Gainesville grad) Nick Claytor is our brother from another mother."

All three brothers are just happy to have one season to get to play at Georgia Tech together after Logan and Lance were redshirted in 2007.

The Walls brothers all say they have been competing against one another in every sport as long as they can remember.

Lance claims bragging rights in tennis. Logan has always the best at arm wrestling. All three have a very precise memory when it comes to bragging rights among the group.

"I beat Logan at arm wrestling two weeks ago for the first time since I was in the fifth grade and he was in third grade," Lance said.

Their mother even starts laughing when she talks about their battles playing imaginary baseball growing up.

"They fought a little when they were younger," she said. "But they have a really close bond together now."

The bond between these brothers was displayed in a more serious manner when Logan underwent surgery at Piedmont Hospital on April 11 to repair his dual A-V node syndrome. The surgery was performed to cut off one of his two conductors into the same bridge of an artery to his heart.

It’s a surgery doctors wouldn’t deem necessary for those that don’t play sports, but thought it was a good precautionary measure with Logan’s amount of physical activity.

During the 24 hours he spent in the hospital for the surgery, his older brothers were there to lend support before and after the operation, along with a stream of other Yellow Jackets players.

"The adrenaline caused my heart to beat really fast," Logan said. "It meant a lot to have my brothers there for me with my mom and grandmother when I had my surgery."

He wasn’t the only one of his brothers to have to go under the knife.

Levi had surgery on March 12 for a genetic heart condition known as Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome. His father had the same condition which is caused by an extra pathway in the heart. The outpouring of support in the family was just the same as Logan’s surgery.

"When they had surgery we were all in the hospital at the same time together," their mother added.

Now cleared to play football again, Levi is looking to garner playing time on special teams for Georgia Tech.

Levi and Lance both took different paths to playing college football than players that go through the traditional recruiting process.

Levi spent his first year out of high school at North Georgia College & State University. After a year of college, he took two years to fulfill his mission with the Mormon church as a Spanish-speaking missionary in San Diego. Once back from his mission trip, he spent another year taking classes at NGCSU.

Then he got the notion to try to play football again. He spent the fall of 2005 watching college football, which planted a seed in his head to return to the field.

Levi played tight end for the Tigers in high school, but learned the ropes as a long snapper from his high school teammate Chess Hamby.

After talking with Georgia Tech coaches he pursued a shot as a walk-on when he enrolled in August of 2006. He plans to graduate this fall with a dual degree in International Affairs and Spanish, and plans to go into investment banking.

This past season he spent time working with punter Durant Brooks and kicker Travis Bell learning the precision involved in being a long snapper.

"You’re expected to be perfect as a snapper," Levi said. "It can be nerve racking."

Levi — who turns 24 in May — married Desiree Walls on Dec. 16, 2006. Lance lives with his brother and sister-in-law in a family housing apartment.

"Yeah, I’m the oldest guy on the team," Levi said.

Lance, a 2005 Dawson County graduate, also headed west before making his way to the Georgia Tech football program. After spending his first year of college at NGCSU on academic scholarship, he pursued a football opportunity at BYU as a developmental team player.

It didn’t take long to get homesick. With his older brother enrolled at Georgia Tech and younger brother Logan verbally committed to Georgia Tech at the time, he decided to join the group and move home after only one semester at Brigham Young.

After redshirting last season, Lance says he’s third string right now at the B-back position behind starter Jonathan Dwyer.

Lance hopes to see time on special teams in the fall for the Yellow Jackets.

One season is all these brothers from Dawsonville get to wear Yellow Jackets’ gold together. Their main objective is to fill the field with Wallses for at least one play in 2008.

"It would be really neat to get on the field together at least for one play," Lance said. "That would be really fun to get to do that for our mom and grandmother."


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