Kenneth Walker III Hopes to Add Explosiveness in Michigan State's Backfield

Last season, Michigan State featured two rushing touchdowns, and neither came from a running back. Kenneth Walker III hopes to change that.
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EAST LANSING – Kenneth Walker III was effective coming out of the backfield for two years at Wake Forest.

He carried the ball 217 times for 1,158 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns in 20 contests.

Yet, he elected to transfer to Michigan State in January.

"I feel like I didn't fit as well in the offense," Walker told reporters in a videoconference. "That was pretty much a big part of my decision."

Walker views the MSU offense as a pro-style attack, which helped him pick the Spartans.

The former three-star prospect could be a huge addition for Michigan State's rushing attack that finished 122nd in the nation last season at 91.4 yards per game, the program's lowest output since 1947.

MSU scored two rushing touchdowns in 2020, and neither came from a running back.

In year two, Mel Tucker expects the ground game to improve but acknowledged its deficiencies, calling it "putrid."

Through multiple spring practices, Tucker likes what he sees from Walker and believes in his work ethic.

"He's the same guy that we saw on tape. He gives great effort, he's strong, he's got great quickness, he has balance and body control, he can change direction, and he can run through the smoke, he's got good hands," said Tucker. "He's a tireless worker; I haven't seen him loaf one time in a drill or in group work or in teamwork. Every rep he takes, he makes the most of it. I'm glad we have him."

At 5-foot-10, 205-pounds, Walker is joined by four running backs in Connor Heyward, Jordon Simmons, Elijah Collins, and Donovan Eaglin. As a true freshman, Simmons led the Spartans in rushing with 219 yards while Heyward accumulated 200 yards on 65 carries. After a dominant season in 2019, Collins embraced a reserve role on 41 carries for 90 yards. 

In addition, Michigan State featured just five runs of 20 yards or more, one courtesy of Simmons and four thanks to quarterbacks.

Walker, who recorded five 100-yard games and two runs of 75-yards or more at Wake Forest, could be the missing link.

"I believe I'm an explosive back," he said. "I think my best thing is explosiveness, being able to go in and out of my cuts, and my vision."

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