Is Kenneth Walker III Really A Heisman Candidate?
Some people (like myself) weren't sure if he would even play major minutes this season for Michigan State football. After all, the Spartans had Jordan Simmons and Elijah Collins returning in the backfield.
But from the moment that he took the first handoff of the season from Payton Thorne and took it 75 yards for a touchdown against Northwestern, Kenneth Walker III (pictured) has become a household name in Spartan Nation.
Not only has he become the unquestioned starter at tailback, but he's also now being mentioned as a Heisman Trophy candidate. Michigan State has never had a Heisman Trophy winner. But former running backs Sherman Lewis and Lorenzo White have been close (Lewis, 3rd in 1963. White, 4th in 1985 and 1987).
"K9", as he is being called now, has run for 912 yards on 129 carries and nine touchdowns in the first six games of the season. That is outstanding, to say the least. And at that rate, he would rush for over 1,800 yards and 18 touchdowns for the whole season.
So is he a Heisman candidate? I say, wait and see. That sounds like a cop-out answer, but the Spartans' schedule is backloaded with tough games against Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State. What if he stinks it out against those defenses? Or what if they get blown out in any of them? And remember, he left the game against Rutgers in the second half with an apparent ankle injury.
Hopefully, that injury is minor and he's able to play anywhere close to full strength. And if he gets close to 2,000 yards for the year, then he deserves the invitation to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.
But let's wait and see what he does against Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State (and if they win all of those games, Iowa in the Big Ten title game) before making any kind of judgments about the Heisman.