2022 NFL Draft: Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker III declares, will opt out of Peach Bowl vs. Pitt

2021 produced a magical 10-win season for Michigan State, but the Spartans will be without their biggest star when they take on Pittsburgh in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 30. Running back Kenneth Walker announced on Twitter that he will skip the bowl game and declare for the 2022 NFL Draft.

“It has been a true honor to represent Michigan State University and wear the Green and White,” Walker wrote. “I am beyond grateful to coach [Mel] Tucker and the entire staff for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to shine under their leadership.”

Walker, a once-unheralded transfer from Wake Forest, finished the season with 1,636 yards rushing — good for No. 2 nationally — 18 rushing touchdowns and averaged 6.22 yards per carry for a Spartans team that was in the thick of the College Football Playoff race until late November. His best game came on Oct. 30th when he scored five rushing touchdowns in a dramatic 37-33 over rival Michigan. He finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting and received 18 first place votes.

“I would like to thank God, my family, teammates fans and all of my coaches over the years for helping me become the player and man I am today,” he wrote. “I will forever be a spartan dawg.”

Michigan State and Pitt will tee it up on Dec. 30 at 7 p.m. ET in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. 

Striking while the iron’s hot

It’s great to see a college football player live out their dream. That’s exactly what Walker is doing. He was a relative unknown heading into the 2021 season, but played his way into a top-tier draft pick. Walker is the fourth-ranked running back prospect in the latest CBS Sports NFL Draft prospect rankings behind only Isaiah Spiller, Breece Hall and Kyren Williams. That’s impressive company for the 5-foot-10,…


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