MSU's Kenneth Walker III wins Walter Camp, Doak Walker awards

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

Kenneth Walker III won’t be in New York on Saturday for the Heisman Trophy, but the Michigan State junior still brought home some hardware on Thursday, winning the Walter Camp Award as the nation's top college football player as well as the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the top running back in the nation. Walker was also named a Walter Camp All-American.

Walker becomes the first Michigan State player to win both the Walter Camp and the Doak Walker awards after rushing for 1,636 yards and 18 touchdowns this season, leading the 10th-ranked Spartans to a 10-2 record and a spot in the Peach Bowl where Michigan State will play No. 12 Pittsburgh on Dec. 30.

Kenneth Walker III was a force from the moment he touched the ball at Michigan State.

“It means a lot,” Walker said after the Doak Walker Award was announced. “I’ve got to start off by giving thanks to God and my family. They’ve been there since I was young and it means so much to me. I got to thank the coaching staff and playing with my brothers, it meant so much.”

Despite Thursday's honors, Walker was not named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. Walker, who earned first-team All-Big Ten honors and shared offensive player of the year honors from the Associated Press with Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, averaged 136.3 rushing yards a game this season and leads the FBS in rushing yards after contact with 1,168.

Walker transferred from Wake Forest during the offseason after scoring 13 touchdowns last season for the Demon Deacons.

“It was rough at first not knowing what to expect,” Walker said. “But when I got here in the spring and got acclimated with everybody and got to know everybody, it made it a lot easier.”

Walker went on to score on his first play from scrimmage as a Spartan, taking his first carry 75 yards for a touchdown in a win over Northwestern. By the end of the regular season, Walker had 21 carries of 20 or more yards and ranked among the nation's leaders in 10-plus yard carries with 46.

Twitter: @mattcharboneau