Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III runs past Ohio State Buckeyes defensive tackle Jerron Cage during the first quarter at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio on Nov. 20, 2021.

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Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker III to enter draft

Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III said Thursday that he will enter the 2022 NFL Draft.

He also will skip the Peach Bowl, pitting the No. 10 Spartans against No. 12 Pitt, on Dec. 30.

“It has been a true honor to represent Michigan State University and wear the Green and White,” Walker wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. “I am beyond grateful to Coach (Mel) Tucker and the entire staff for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to shine under their leadership. As the regular season has come to a close, I would like to announce that I have decided to forgo playing in the Peach Bowl to begin preparation for the NFL Draft.”

Walker transferred from Wake Forest and played just one season for the Spartans, but it was one that long will be remembered in East Lansing. He ran for 1,636 yards, scored 18 touchdowns and became the first ever Michigan State player to win the Walter Camp Player of the Year and the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back. He finished sixth overall in the Heisman Trophy voting — the best for a Michigan State player since 1988 — and was a consensus All-American.

He likely will be one of the first running backs selected in the draft. USA Today’s latest mock draft has Walker as the third running back off the board.

Tucker thanked Walker for his contributions in a statement he posted to Twitter.

“I want to congratulate Ken for all his success and thank him for taking a chance on us,” 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.”

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