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Michigan State's Kenneth Walker III Wins 2021 Doak Walker Award

Erin WalshDecember 10, 2021

Michigan State's Kenneth Walker III, right, rushes against Penn State's Kalen King (4) and Ji'Ayir Brown (16) during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
AP Photo/Al Goldis

Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III is the winner of the 2021 Doak Walker Award, which recognizes the best RB in college football.

Walker beat out finalists in junior Breece Hall of Iowa State and senior Tyler Badie of Missouri. 

Walker had the best season of his collegiate career in 2021, entering Saturday's regular-season finale against Penn State with 1,614 yards (second in FBS) and 18 touchdowns (T-3rd in FBS) on the ground in addition to 13 catches for 89 yards and a score. 

The 21-year-old transferred to Michigan State after two years at Wake Forest. He's racked up more rushing yards in his one season with the Spartans than he did in two seasons with the Demon Deacons. 

Walker was also named a finalist for the Maxwell Award, which is given to the nation’s best overall player. Brandon Van Pelt is the only Spartan to ever win the Maxwell Award, doing so in 1972. 

No Michigan State player had ever won the Doak Walker Award until this year.

Walker overcame some stiff competition for this award.

Hall had one of the best seasons of his collegiate career in 2021, rushing for 1,464 yards (fifth in FBS) and 20 touchdowns (T-1st FBS) on 253 carries in 12 games. He also caught 36 passes for 302 yards and three scores.

Badie had the best season of his collegiate career in 2021, rushing for a career-high 1,604 yards (third in FBS) and 14 touchdowns (T-6th FBS) on 268 carries in addition to 54 catches for 330 yards and four scores.