Tough runner: One stat shows new Spartan Kenneth Walker III is very effective against early contact
One key addition for Michigan State this offseason is running back Kenneth Walker III.
After spending two seasons at Wake Forest, Walker entered the transfer portal and eventually landed on Mel Tucker and the Spartans. He brings experience and a dynamic ability to rush the ball with him to East Lansing.
In two seasons with the Demon Deacons, Walker ran for 1,158 yards and 17 touchdowns, including a team-high 13 scores in 2020. He is also effective after taking early contact.
According to the CFB Film Room, Walker averaged 6.7 yards per carry when absorbing contact early in the play. That mark was good for third nationally among Power 5 running backs, and it was even a bit better than Ohio State’s Trey Sermon.
Have a look:
When given some room to run, but not a massive hole, which RBs did the most damage in 2020?
— CFB Film Room (@CFBFilmRoom) June 13, 2021
That is definitely the kind of ability that would be a big boost to Michigan State’s rushing attack from last season. In 2020, Jordan Simmons and Connor Heyward were the only Spartans to hit 200 yards rushing. As a team, Michigan State averaged 91.7 yards rushing per game and just 2.7 yards per carry.
Hopefully, Walker and an improved offensive line can stabilize the ground game in 2021.