Michigan State's Kenneth Walker III to Skip Peach Bowl to Prepare for 2022 NFL Draft

Adam WellsDecember 16, 2021

Michigan State's Kenneth Walker III runs against Michigan during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
AP Photo/Al Goldis

Michigan State star Kenneth Walker III is turning pro coming off a breakout 2021 season. 

Walker announced on Twitter he will skip the Peach Bowl and begin preparing for the 2022 NFL draft. 

𝒦ℰ𝒩𝒩ℰ𝒯ℋ π’²π’œβ„’π’¦β„°β„› β„β„β„πŸ€ @Kenneth_Walker9

πŸ’šπŸ€ <a href="https://t.co/Mjnt3axKqV">pic.twitter.com/Mjnt3axKqV</a>

Spartans head coach Mel Tucker posted a farewell message to Walker on Twitter following the running back's announcement:

Mel Tucker @Coach_mtucker

Thank you for everything K9 πŸΆπŸ’š <a href="https://twitter.com/Kenneth_Walker9?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Kenneth_Walker9</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SD4L?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SD4L</a> <a href="https://t.co/217Wog1Wuv">pic.twitter.com/217Wog1Wuv</a>

Walker began his college career at Wake Forest, where he played from 2019-20. He was the No. 3 running back as a freshman, behind quarterback Jamie Newman, who led the team in carries, and Cade Carney. 

Despite only carrying the ball 98 times, Walker racked up 579 yards on the ground and scored four touchdowns. He continued to play at a high level in 2020 with 579 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on 119 attempts in seven games. 

After entering the transfer portal in January, Walker announced he would be attending Michigan State. The Spartans only had two rushing touchdowns for the entire 2020 season. 

Walker turned into arguably the best running back in the nation in 2021. He ran for 1,646 yards and 18 touchdowns on 264 attempts in 12 games. The 21-year-old won the Walter Camp Award, Doak Walker Award and was named Big Ten Running Back of the Year. 

He also finished sixth in Heisman Trophy voting. The Spartans posted their first 10-win season since 2017 with Walker leading the offense. 

B/R's latest big board for the 2022 draft has Walker ranked as the top running back and No. 23 overall player in the class. 

Michigan State will take on ACC champion Pitt without Walker in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 30.