Michigan State star tailback Kenneth Walker III, who won the Doak Walker Award as college football's best running back in 2021, has been selected No. 41 overall by the Seattle Seahawks in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Walker, the Spartans' first draft pick since 2020, is the highest selected Michigan State player since Malik McDowell was picked No. 35 overall in 2016, also by the Seahawks. He was the second running back selected in this year's draft, after Iowa State's Breece Hall was selected No. 36 overall by the New York Jets earlier tonight.
Seattle is beginning a rebuild after trading away star quarterback Russell Wilson to Denver for Bronco's quarterback Drew Lock and several draft picks this offseason. The Seahawks add Walker to an offense that already has multiple high-level skill position guys like wide receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, as well as tight end Noah Fant.
Transferring to East Lansing from Wake Forest ahead of the 2021 season, Walker's addition to the roster was unarguably the most impactful recruiting win that head coach Mel Tucker has made since he took over the helm at Michigan State in February of 2020.
The star tailback rushed for the second-most yards in college football in 2021 with 1,636 yards on 263 carries, an impressive 6.2 yards per carry. Walker also scored 18 rushing touchdowns last season for the Spartans, which was the eighth-most in college football.
In two previous seasons at Wake Forest, Walker rushed for 1,158 yards on 217 carries — 5.3 yards per carry — with 17 touchdowns for the Demon Deacons.
After his outstanding season with Michigan State last year, Walker was also the winner of the Walter Camp Award, given annually to college football's "Player of the Year", determined by a group of NCAA Div. 1 football coaches and sports information directors.
Walker was the first Michigan State player to win the Walter Camp Award, introduced in 1967, and was also the first Spartan to win the Doak Walker Award, introduced in 1990.
After leading the race for the Heisman Trophy through 11 weeks of the college football season, Walker's campaign for that award was derailed by a six-carry, 25-yard performance against Ohio State, in which the tailback wasn't fully healthy. Walker finished sixth in the Heisman voting.
In his three collegiate seasons, Walker had 19 receptions for 136 yards and one receiving touchdown. He also returned kickoffs as a freshman at Wake Forest, with nine kick returns for 139 yards.
This was the first year since 2014 that a running back was not selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, and only the third time since 1943.