It's deja vu, only a little different.
Not long ago I wrote a column about Weber State linebacker Nick Webb, a young man who came to the Wildcats from Salt Lake City's East High School. He loved playing defense, specifically the safety position. However, not long after arriving in Ogden he was asked to move to linebacker.
Since then, he has flourished and become one of his team's best players, racking up tackle after tackle each Saturday.
Well, guess what? Last week I met Webb's mirror opposite.
Say hello to Chaz Walker, University of Utah middle linebacker.
Like Webb, Walker -- who tied for a team-high 12 tackles during Saturday's loss to Washington -- is an offensive player's nightmare. Not only does he have the athleticism and the footwork to play linebacker, he loves to throw his shoulder into the poor, unsuspecting running backs.
It's what they do. It's who they are.
Funny thing through, Walker grew up in Northern Utah, played football at Davis High School and found his way down to the U.
Like Webb, he played safety in high school and developed a love of defense at a school steeped in prep football tradition.
No doubt that expectation of greatness has translated to the next level. Davis has long been one of the state's prep football powerhouses, cranking out a number of college-bound standouts, including BYU's Bryan Kariya and WSU's Tanner Hinds.
Although it hasn't sustained the success Davis has, East also has a tradition of turning out great college talent.
While playing for two different teams, in two different cities and at two different levels of college football -- one, the FBS the other the FCS -- Webb and Walker are making Beehive State fans quite proud.
"(Davis has) a great program, they've got a great set of coaches," Walker said. "They definitely set me up for college football. I definitely owe a lot to (Davis coach) Ryan Bishop and the coaches up there."
Like Webb, Walker had other offers coming out of high school, but had specific reasons for going to his school. A big reason why he chose to walk on at Utah was Utes' coach Kyle Whittingham, a former BYU teammate of Chaz's dad, Dr. Kevin Walker.
Whittingham and Kevin Walker go back a long way and, admittedly, Kevin said he hoped his son would choose to play at Utah. Still, he allowed him to make his own decision.
"Once I talked to coach Whitt, I knew I was coming here," Chaz said. "It just seemed like the best fit, whether it was walk-on or scholarship."
In fact, Whittingham told Chaz if he came to the Utes and worked hard, he'd get a scholarship. And that's exactly what happened.
Going into Saturday's Pac-12 home-opener, young Mr. Walker led the Utes with 26 tackles. With a dozen more tackles against the Huskies, he now has reached double digits in three of the Utes' first four games.
"Chaz is a tremendous player," Whittingham said. "He led the team in tackles last year. I think he's second, third or fourth -- somewhere in there -- in the Pac-12 in tackles, this year. He's a self-made guy."
Uh-huh, Whittingham was correct about Walker's rank among Pac-12 tacklers. Going into Saturday's loss, he ranked No. 4.
"Defense has been my thing since I started playing. I started playing in eighth grade," Walker said. "I played safety and I really wanted to play safety when I got here. But once I got moved to linebacker it was the greatest thing."
Walker and the Utes were understandably disappointed after the 31-14 blowout loss. It was a game they should have won and must win in the future if they're ever going to contend in their new conference.
The Utes lost starting quarterback Jordan Wynn to a left shoulder injury just before halftime and his status for next Saturday's game with Arizona State is in question.
On the plus side, however, is Walker and the consistency he brings to Utah's defense. At this point in the season, he just might be the team's best weapon.
Jim Burton is the Standard-Examiner's sports columnist. He also covers the Utah Jazz and the NBA. He can reached at (801) 625-4265 or at email@example.com. He Tweets at http://twitter.com/jmb247