December 6, 2011

Stampeders sign star running back Matt Walter

Rita Mingo
Calgary Herald

CALGARY — The gridiron dream continues for Matt Walter.

The 22-year-old record setting running back out of the University of Calgary on Monday signed a pro contract with the Calgary Stampeders and is now eagerly preparing for more football in his life.

“It’s really exciting,” he admitted, “the fact that I can continue playing football. Sometimes things don’t work out… but I’m good to go and I’m looking forward to training camp.”

Walter, a Bishop O’Byrne High School grad, will continue to work out at King Football with his trainer Joey Kwasniewski, with his aim to be in top shape come spring.

“It’s a great place, a lot of school kids and CIS athletes go there,” he noted. “Last year, (Stamps’ Anthony) Parker, James Green of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and (Nate) Coehoorn (Edmonton Eskimos), we all worked out together.”

Walter was drafted in the fifth round and 34th overall by the Stamps in the 2011 CFL draft. He attended the squad’s training camp in the spring and was cut. He then went on to play for Canada at the 2011 world football championship in Austria.

He finished his five-year career with the Dinos by setting records despite limited playing time. Walter is the school’s leading rusher with 4,014 yards, which sits eighth on the all-time CIS list; he tops all Calgary players with 29 rushing touchdowns, and is second in Canada West with 35 all-purpose TDs.

Walter’s disappointment after the Dinos lost the 2011 Mitchell Bowl was tempered by the fact the Stampeders weighed heavily in his plans.

“If it had been my last football game,” he admitted, “it would have been even worse. But at the same time, the program has come a long way and when I reflect on my career, I can be proud of the teams I was on and that will help to get over it.”

Walter is finishing up his business degree at the U of C and is eventually looking to end up in the oil and gas industry.

“After I’ve exhausted as much football as I can,” he chuckled. “I’d love to have a long career (in the CFL) but we’ll see how the cookie crumbles.”

And if studying for his degree doesn’t keep him busy enough, he can always pull out the Stamps’ playbook and get a jump on the nuances of their philosophy.

“You can never have fun just playing if you have to worry about your assignments, so my main goal going in is to understand the playbook so that I can perform to the best of my abilities,” Walter pointed out.

“They have me slotted at tail-back and fullback. I don’t have a lot of experience at fullback, but I’m confident in my abilities and I think I can adapt to whatever role they expect of me. And there will be a lot of emphasis on special teams.”