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Ken Walker blows through Miami like a tornado
Seaside Joe 1190: He's a running back who you won't fully appreciate until you watch him play football
Them: “I don’t NEED to watch ANY football to have the right opinion about Ken Walker III!”
You: “The Seahawks newsletter I subscribe to has covered so much Ken Walker game footage that I know how he did against Youngstown State in 2021. I feel no regrets.”
echoing off into the distance… “I feel no regrets. I feel no regrets. I feel no regrets…”
These days, there are many different types of football fans. There aren’t only people who love to watch football. There are also people who are only obsessed with fantasy football. There are also people who are only obsessed with football stats. There are also people who are only obsessed with the football draft. There is even a contingent of people who only follow the game for the off-field drama, rumors, and gossip.
I do not disparage anyone for being in any of these groups! There should be no competition between “what is the best way to follow the sport?” options, but we should be acknowledging that in the supersonic era of mass communication that not everyone who “loves the NFL” actually likes to watch football.
Some have taken their aversion to watching football so far that they can claim that film and individual talent has no bearing on the value of drafting Walker with the 41st pick.
But those people may not have the same relationship to football that you or I do. There is no one right way to follow a sport. There is no one right way to draft. There is no hard and fast rule on drafting running backs, and the human element of the sport means that there never will be.
I happen to be loving this series where you and I get to watch every college football performance by the Seahawks’ newest franchise running back—and I can tell you that so far there is no right way to STOP Ken Walker III.
So let’s not stop our review of Walker’s epic three-year college career.
And to wrap a bow on Walker’s performance against Youngstown State, a matchup that does not require more analysis than the clip above: seven carries, 57 yards, one touchdown.
This series has already done a deep dive into Walker’s best games at Wake Forest and his 264-yard debut with Michigan State, but there are still SEVEN more contests with at least 130 rushing yards to cover.
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Previously on Kenny on Kenny: Walker’s freshman season, Walker’s career-day vs NC State, Walker’s holy shit moments vs Virginia, how Walker got to Michigan State, will Walker be a third WR, Walker’s 4-TD debut for the Spartans
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Week 3 - Michigan State vs Miami, September 18, 2021
Even though Miami was ranked 24th in this contest, the Hurricanes started the season with a 44-13 loss to Alabama and they were eventually 2-4 after six games with wins over Appalachian State and Central Connecticut State. Miami would eventually get better after transitioning from D’Eriq King to Tyler Van Dyke at quarterback but I would caution you against seeing “24” on the screen and thinking that the Hurricanes were a good team last season.
But as is often the case, nobody was better against this defense than Ken Walker III.
Alabama’s Brian Robinson had 12 carries for 60 yards. Duke’s Mataeo Durant (over 1,200 yards last season) had 22 carries for 68 yards. UNC’s Ty Chandler was better, rushing 18 times for 104 yards, but let’s get into how Walker carried the load for the Spartans with 30 touches in a relatively easy victory over the Hurricanes.
3rd-and-1, stretch it left
Tied 0-0 late in the first quarter, Michigan State is facing third-and-1 near midfield, resulting in a predictable handoff to their best player. Not predictable enough to stop him and Walker’s stutter step midway through the run helps add a few extra yards to the end of a 26-yard gain.
He sees the field differently
As you’ve seen in this series over and over again, Ken Walker just sees the field differently than other running backs. His combination of vision, decision making, and burst creates mismatches and lanes that I don’t think would exist for other backs. His combination of patience and breakaway speed makes him a home run threat on top of that.
Walker carves through Miami’s run defense on this play by basically drawing out the silhouette of a majestic waterfall, setting up the Spartans with another first down to start the drive. He immediately picks up another first two plays later with an even longer run to the right side.
You know another sign of a great player? When the broadcast booth has to consistently re-watch and diagnose his efforts. The PRAISE that announcers have had for Walker during my watch of his career has been unlike the vast majority of his peers—at ANY position.
His left-right cutback to start the play discombobulates the Hurricanes.
You won’t see “Discombobulation Rate” on any analytics chart.
Catching—He can do it!
Walker gets by one defender and gives Michigan State a 10-7 lead, catching his first and only touchdown of the season. In an offense that asks him to do more receiving, there’s evidence to expect him to step up to the plate.
I’m getting those Grayson McCall chills…
Not everyone follows football because they want to feel “chills” while watching the sport. We can’t disparage or discredit their reasons for following football. But for my purposes, I’m happy to sign up for Ken Walker’s career with the Seahawks. He’s been breaking ankles like this in college since 2019.
AH-HAHAHA! I LOVE LIFE! WOOOO! I LOVE MY LIFE!!!
Walker should have been sued for defamation after this play because he irreparably damaged the lives and careers of TWO Miami defenders on a single “F-You” Kool-Aid Man burst through an orange wall.
He’s unbelievable. I love watching football!!!
Direct snaps will be a thing in Seattle probably
I haven’t kept track of how many there have been, but Walker took a good amount of direct snaps at Wake Forest and that continued at Michigan State. Given Seattle’s current situation at QB, I wouldn’t be surprised if Shane Waldron added a few direct snaps for Walker into the playbook after watching his film.
The spin is in
Ken Walker must have broken a minimum of 3,000 tackles in this game.
Walker finished the day with 27 carries for 172 yards, catching three passes for 17 yards and a touchdown. This would be a career-day for most running backs. For Walker, it may not even rank in his top-five best performances.
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