COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - There's nothing quite like coming home again after you've been away a while. For Tim Walton, it turned into a working visit.
And that was more than okay by him as he checked out Carver High's new facilities on Monday.
"It's exciting," the former St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator said. "You can see the change that has taken place since I've been back. Being in a new school and the new facilities. It's outstanding to get a chance to see it and tour the place. It's great opportunities for the upcoming kids."
Back in the late 80's, Walton was the starting quarterback and defensive back for the Tigers. He wound up at Ohio State as a defensive back, becoming a team captain as a senior in 1994 before embarking on a career as a coach. He said his college experience was key.
"It gave you total understanding of football," said Walton, "on how offensives work, how defenses work by playing it in college. That made my transition into coaching a lot easier."
At practice, the current Tiger players crowded around the former Carver quarterback, looking to learn from a man who had coached at elite levels, trying to soak up as much knowledge as they could.
"He's been where we are trying to get so we got to listen," said senior defensive back Khane Pass, a Louisville commitment. "I know he knows what he's talking about."
Walton has the resume, starting off at Bowling Green, then moving on to Memphis, Miami, and Syracuse, as well as LSU, where he earned a national championship ring as part of Nick Saban's staff in 2003.
Walton spent the past five seasons in the NFL, as defensive backs coach with the Lions, then as defensive coordinator with the Rams. Getting there was all about putting in extra effort.
"A lot of people have the same goals and dreams that you do," Walton said. "You have to have the mental toughness, the discipline, and the work ethic to be able to separate yourself from everybody else who has that same dream."