Michigan State Spartans RB Kenneth Walker III to enter NFL draft

Michigan State junior running back Kenneth Walker III announced Thursday that he's entering the NFL draft and will forgo playing in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 30.

Walker finished the season with 1,636 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns, which represented the fourth-most rushing yards and the fifth-most rushing touchdowns in a single season for any Michigan State player.

He became the first Michigan State player to win the Walter Camp National Player of the Year and the Doak Walker Award for the best running back in college football.

"It has been a true honor to represent Michigan State University and wear the Green and White," Walker posted to Twitter. "I am beyond grateful to Coach Tucker and the entire staff for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to shine under their leadership."

He is the No. 2-ranked running back by ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. for the 2022 NFL draft, behind Iowa State's Breece Hall.

Walker transferred to Michigan State prior to this season and immediately made an impact for the Spartans. He took his first carry of the season for a 75-yard touchdown in the first game against Northwestern, finishing that day with 264 yards and four touchdowns.

"I want to congratulate Ken for all of his success and thank him for taking a chance on us," Michigan State coach Mel Tucker said. "From the day he set foot on campus in January, he has done nothing but work extremely hard and represent Michigan State University with class. He quickly earned the respect of his teammates and coaches, and they were happy to share in his success and accolades.

"He is a special player and I'm proud of everything he was able to achieve this season. K9 will always be a Spartan Dawg."