Michigan State football has had some big turnover in the transfer portal, but now they’ve landed a talented running back out of the ACC.
With 14 exits from the 2020 team via the NCAA transfer portal already, Michigan State has now landed five transfers to help replenish the roster for 2021. On Wednesday, Wake Forest running back Kenneth Walker III announced he is headed to East Lansing to continue his college career.
Walker played two seasons at Wake Forest. In 2020 he rushed for 579 yards (4.9 yards per carry) and 13 touchdowns in seven games, with three 100-yard games and a six-game scoring streak. In early December, he opted out of the rest of the season and did not play in the last two games for the Demon Deacons (including the Mayo Bowl against Wisconsin).
As a freshman in 2019, Walker averaged 5.9 yards per carry with four touchdowns on the ground over 13 games. That season ended in the Pinstripe Bowl against Michigan State, but Walker did not make a huge impact in that game (eight carries for 24 yards, one catch for two yards and 58 kickoff return yards).
Michigan State may lean heavily on Walker next season
The Spartans have five returning scholarship running backs set to return in 2021, most notably including last season’s leading rusher Jordon Simmons (219 yards on 56 carries). Another Power 5 transfer is coming to join the backfield, in former Auburn running back Harold Joiner. Joiner played just two games for Auburn in 2020, without a carry, before entering the transfer portal in early October. He committed to Michigan State in mid-December.
Walker had at least 16 carries in four of his seven games last season, with over 20 carries three times. So he could very well step right in as Michigan State’s No. 1 running back next season, with a path to a breakout season in the Big Ten for Mel Tucker’s squad.