Metairie, LA (SportsNetwork.com) - On the same day he graduated from Tulane University, former Green Wave safety Devon Walker was able to achieve another of his dreams.
The New Orleans Saints paid tribute to the paralyzed ex-player by signing him to a contract on Saturday.
Walker, a team captain for the Green Wave in 2012, fractured two vertebrae in his spinal cord when he collided with a teammate while attempting to make a tackle in a game at Tulsa on September 8 of that year. The injury left him paralyzed from the neck down and caused him to spend three months in a hospital.
The New Orleans native remained part of the Tulane program while completing his undergraduate studies this past season, and received his degree in cell and molecular biology on Saturday.
"Despite the devastating injury he suffered, Devon refuses to let that define him," said Saints head coach Sean Payton. "He is an outstanding young man, who is not only an inspiration to his coaches and teammates at Tulane, but to all of us. Devon's character, determination, intelligence and work ethic are everything that we look for in a New Orleans Saint when we sign a player. This is the least we can do to recognize Devon and these attributes that we want all of our players to have."
Walker also received the Disney Spirit Award, presented annually to college football's most outstanding player, this past year.
Additionally, the Saints announced they have agreed to terms with Nebraska cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste, the club's second-round pick in last week's draft.
Jean-Baptiste, the 58th overall selection, earned second team All-Big Ten honors as a senior after recording 41 tackles, four interceptions and one sack.
The Saints have now all but two members of their six-player draft class under contract, with first-rounder Brandin Cooks and Cal linebacker Khairi Fortt (fourth round) yet to sign.