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PJ Walker: Facts to Know

Philip Walker Jr is a quarterback who currently plays for the Carolina Panthers in the NFL. He was born on February 26, 1995, in Elizabeth City, New Jersey. While a junior at Elizabeth High School, his statistics included throwing for 2,168 yards and 18 touchdowns. He later joined Temple University on an athletic scholarship. From 2013 to 2016, he played under Matt Rhule as quarterback for the Temple Owls.

College Career Highlights

For the 2013 season, Walker initially started as a backup but earned the team’s starting spot in week 6. He ended the freshman year having started seven of 12 games. Although his sophomore season wasn’t as outstanding, there were still some notable exceptions.

Walker’s confidence would grow in his junior season. He became the third player in Temple Owls history to start every game of the season. PJ Walker would ultimately lead the team to a 10-4 record. He ended the season with 2,972 passing yards, which was a school record. He also equaled the total offense record with 3,179 yards.

One of the main highlights of Walker’s senior season was becoming the Temple Owls’ all-time passing yards leader, with 10,669 yards. In the four seasons, he also had 830 completions and 74 touchdowns. Although initially relatively unknown in the college circuit, he made his mark in the American Athletic Conference.

In 2016, Walker achieved 3,295 passing yards, which is a single-season record. In addition to the fans, various American Football organizations recognized his achievements, including the NCAA’s College Football Performance Awards.

To date, Walker remains Temple University’s record holder for various accomplishments. They include wins by a starting quarterback, passing touchdowns, attempts, passing yards, completions, total touchdowns, and total yards. He led the team to a conference title in 2016, the Owls’ first in 49 years.

Professional Career

Despite his impressive college stats, PJ Walker was an undrafted free agent in 2017. He signed with the Indianapolis Colts that year, where he remained in the practice squad for a year. With his NFL dreams appearing dismal, he moved to the newly rebooted XFL for the 2020 season.

He joined the Houston Roughnecks and made an immediate impact. In addition to the team, the entire league took notice. He became the XFL’s first Star of the Week after his performance in the first game, where he threw four touchdowns. He also led the Roughnecks to a 37-17 victory over the Los Angeles Wildcats.

Unfortunately, the 2020 XFL season got canceled in March due to the coronavirus outbreak. Nevertheless, PJ Walker ended it with a 5-0 record. These statistics included leading the league with 15 touchdowns and 1,338 passing yards. Due to the uncertainty around the XFL, he signed with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers in March 2020 but remained on the reserve list. He got clearance to play for his new team by April when the XFL suspended operations.

Return to the NFL

PJ Walker signed a 2-year contract worth $1,565,000 with the Panthers. Other than a $150,000 signing bonus, the provisions included an average take-home pay of $782,500. Other contract clauses for 2021 are an $880,000 cap hit, $25,000 workout bonus, and a $75,000 dead cap value.

Walker was one of the few players from the XFL that NFL teams approached. Compared to his earnings in the previous league, the Panthers’ contract was significantly lucrative. It’s even more impressive considering that Walker wasn’t on an NFL practice squad before heading to the XFL.

His solid performance as starting QB for the Houston Roughnecks played a central role in guaranteeing his professional growth. It’s also likely that he employed the services of a highly competent football lawyer to help with contract negotiations. On his return to the NFL, Walker reunited with Matt Rhule, his coach at Temple University.

PJ Walker’s Carolina Panthers Statistics

For the 2020 season, PJ Walker started one game and played a total of four. Out of 56 attempted passes, he completed 32 to achieve a 57.14% completion rate. Walker also made 368 yards, one touchdown, and an average of 6.6 yards per attempt.

Other passing stats include five interceptions and four sacks, with his longest pass being 52 yards. During the season, Walker made five rushing attempts and one rushing fumble. With another year remaining on his contract, he looks set to continue to impress for the NFL’s 102nd season, which starts on September 9, 2021.

Conclusion

If not for the abrupt end of the XFL in 2020, PJ Walker would likely have been the league MVP. After a dismal performance with the Colts, his inspiring second stint at the NFL is better. If he maintains his current form, he could start more games and even become an NFL team’s regular starting quarterback in the future. With ever-growing confidence in his abilities, he can enjoy more productive years in the top flight of American football.

Mark is the founder and editor of XFL News Hub. The site was started in January of 2018, within days of the announced return of the XFL. Contact him directly by emailing mark.perry@xflnewshub.com

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