Last year, Devin Hester of the Chicago Bears proved that a special teams rookie could make a dramatic impact on a whole season, not to mention one game.
Sophomore Bryan Walters was Cornell’s Devin Hester last season. As a freshman out of Bothell, Wash., Walters made his impact felt consistently throughout the year.
His 24.5 yards per kick-off return was 14th-best in the nation, while he ranked 27th on punt returns, reeling off 10.1 yards per attempt. The 274 yards he compiled on punt returns for the year broke a 58-year-old Cornell record.
Rolled into one, Walters combined return yardage and receiving totals gave him 105.9 all-purpose yards per game — 58th in the nation and fourth in the Ivy League.
Walters stepped up late in games and against tough opponents, too.
His 88-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter against Penn proved to be the game-winner, and he caught all of his three passes of the season against the nationally ranked Harvard squad.