With Kenny Pickett undecided for the Peach Bowl after offensive coordinator Mark Whipple’s departure to Nebraska, it appears that Michigan State is in the same boat for the upcoming New Year’s Six bowl game.
Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker said that star running back Kenneth Walker III is ‘uncertain’ to play in the Peach Bowl, MLive’s Matt Wenzel reported Monday.
“I’m uncertain about him,” Tucker said in Wenzel’s article. “I know he’s been battling through some things so we’ll just have to continue to monitor it. He’s not the only one. It’s a fluid situation. We’re going to get as many guys prepared and ready to go as we possibly can.”
Walker, the recipient of the Walter Camp Player of the Year and Doak Walker Awards, is the centerpiece of Michigan State’s 10-2 season under Tucker, and his 1,648 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground would be impossible to replace if he were to miss the game.
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) December 10, 2021
Sophomore Jordon Simmons is Walker’s primary backup, having racked up 255 yards on 54 carries this season, and there isn’t any player on the roster that has rushed for more than 100 yards this season — other than quarterback Payton Thorne.
Walker’s loss would greatly impact the Pitt-Michigan State matchup, as would Pickett’s absence, but the Spartans leaned so heavily on Walker this season that perhaps his loss would be even more impactful.
While Walker hasn’t declared for the 2022 NFL Draft yet, it appears that it’s only a matter of time. He will likely be among the first running back selected in the draft.