AJC article about Walker Atrice's death
Knuckle Up Fitness profile of/interview with Walker
HT: Paul Westerdawg
Walker literally gave me the shirt off his back once.
In my closet at home sits a 1996 Georgia football #31 jersey, signed in sharpie by Walker Atrice III, which he gave to me one late night in Panama City on spring break, as a party in the Luckie triplets' room was dying down about 3 a.m., after I drunkenly asked him if I could have it and he said "sure, man. I'll say I lost it and I'll get another one. Hold on, let me find a Sharpie and I'll sign it for you". That night he and I and the triplets went out and they were all so fun and nice, happily playing along with my story as we chatted up girls, who became interested that they were talking to football players at UGA, that I was in fact the field goal kicker.
Walker was a hell of a nice guy, and although I wouldn't say that we were close friends, we did hang out a good bit in 95-96. He was a living example of the rejection of the tired football player stereotype: kind, confident but not arrogant, intelligent, articulate, thoughtful, a true student athlete who took school seriously and spoke of one day becoming a doctor, just a great guy all around.
At Georgia games from about 96-2000 I would wear my WA31 jersey, and invariably random people would come up to me and tell me that they knew Walker and how he was such a great guy and they knew him from Lakeside or wherever, so I know that it wasn't just me who had this impression of him.
My heart is filled with sadness today as I learned of his bizarre death after collapsing immediately after participating in a golden gloves boxing match. Apparently Walker was 23-4 as an amateur and dreamed of turning pro.
My thoughts are with him and his family. If anyone who reads this knows how to contact his family, I would love to write them and offer to give them my signed jersey, it would likely mean much more to them than to me.
Rest in peace, Walker.