NC State added tight end Kam Walker to its 2019 recruiting class, but not in the traditional way. Walker accepted a blueshirt offer, which means that while he will be on scholarship, he won’t take any official visits to State, but he can play right away. (In 2019.)
Blueshirts are a loophole in NCAA scholarship regulations that don’t get exploited often, but the jist is this: if you join a program in this way, you count against the next recruiting class, not the current one. So Walker is, for all intents and purposes, a member of NC State’s 2020 class. He’ll be on campus along with the rest of the 2019 class next fall, and will participate in practices all the same, but as far as the scholarship accounting goes, he doesn’t exist.
Basically, NC State’s staff expressed their desire to have Walker on board but was not willing to give him a scholarship slot in this cycle. They like him, but they don’t like him THAT much. And again, Walker WILL be on scholarship—he’s not merely a preferred walk-on—and that scholarship will take effect as soon as he sets foot on campus.
To receive blueshirt status, you can’t take any official visits—basically you cannot visit a school in any normal, standard recruitin’ fashion. It’s like a ridiculous long-distance relationship—you talk, but you never see each other in person. Which is what makes this stuff legal.
This is not the first time Doeren’s staff has used this process—linebacker Airius Moore was a blueshirt commit back in the day, and that ended up working out pretty well.
Walker has legit D-I offers—ECU, notably—so he did not have to go this route. But this is the pull that power-conference schools have, and he’s willing to take the unorthodox route in order to get his shot.