RB | Junior | University of Georgia
Walker in 1982 became the seventh junior and second Georgia Bulldog to win the Heisman Trophy.
The the 6-foot 1-inch, 222-pound Walker amassed an unbelievable 5,097 yards rushing in his career, an NCAA record for yards rushing in three seasons. Walker and legends Glenn Davis and Doak Walker are the only players to log three top three Heisman finishes.
Walker was born in Wrightsville, Ga., one of seven children. He attended Johnson County High, where he played football, basketball and competed in track. In his senior year of 1979, he rushed for 3,167 yards, helping the Trojans to win their first state championship. The valedictorian of his class, he was awarded the first Dial Award as the 1979 national high school scholar-athlete of the year.
Of course Walker was coveted by schools all around the country, but he eventually chose his local team, the Georgia Bulldogs. His arrival in Athens was momentous, as he produced one of the great freshman seasons in college football history, rushing for 1,616 yards and 15 touchdowns as the Bulldogs went 12-0 and won the national title. Walker tied for the best finish ever (at the time) by a freshman in the Heisman vote, placing third behind George Rogers and Hugh Green.
He came back the following season and led Georgia to a 10-2 record while rushing for a career-best 1,891 yards and 18 scores. But he finished second in the Heisman voting to Marcus Allen. It’s worth noting that Walker also ran track that spring, finishing as an All-American in the indoor 60m dash and the outdoor 100m sprint.
The Heisman finally came his way as a junior, as Walker rushed for 1,752 yards and 16 touchdowns while leading the Bulldogs to an 11-0 regular-season record and a national title matchup against Penn State in the Sugar Bowl.
Walker’s three-year record at Georgia was a remarkable 33-3.
Following his junior season, Walker decided to go pro. The NFL still didn’t take underclassmen, but the newly-formed USFL did. Walker signed with the New Jersey Generals and became the marquee player in that league. In his three-year USFL career, Walker rushed for 5,562 yards.
He later joined the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, forming the league’s first all-Heisman backfield with Tony Dorsett. He also had stints with Minnesota, Philadelphia and New York before retiring.
Ever the competitor, Walker has participated in a variety of sports and athletic activities over the years in addition to football and track, including taekwondo, bobsledding, ballet and mixed martial arts.
Walker was elected to the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 1999.