It is well-known nationally that Arkansas has two of the better backs in the country in Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins.
But if they are 1A and 1B on the Razorback roster, another veteran took advantage of their absence at Saturday’s Red-White game to take a big step in including himself in the conversation.
Fifth-year senior-to-be Kody Walker (6-2, 250) carried 26 times for 174 yards and 3 touchdowns to lead the Red team to a 62-18 thrashing of the White before 41,220 fans at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
“I felt like it was my time to shine,” Walker said. “J-Will and AC were both out so I thought it was my time and I needed to show everybody what I had. I think I kind of proved that.”
It was certainly the most carries he had since he used to star back at Jefferson City, Mo., High School, where he rushed for over 1,000 yards as both a junior and a senior.
“It felt good and I haven’t felt that in awhile,” Walker said. “It felt real good.”
Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema was impressed with what he saw from Walker.
“Our offense is so different when we don’t have Alex or J-Will in the game, but I was so pleased with Kody,” Bielema said. “He is a very reliable back and a guy that I think can have a very valuable role in our offense.”
Walker rushed for five touchdowns in just three games as a true freshman before suffering a season-ending injury and actually getting a medical redshirt for that year.
He suffered a season-ending injury again the following season and had a pedestrian 4 carries for 22 yards his third season and 31 carries for 149 yards and a touchdown last season.
Walker also had three catches for 15 yards against Alabama although one of those resulted in a turnover near the goal line.
He showed Saturday that he is healthy, had good ball protection and still has his burst of speed as he raced to a 25-yard touchdown.
“I attribute that to just my legs feeling good,” Walker said. “I have been in with my training staff…and this the best that my legs have felt.
“I just keep getting in the cold tub and getting that treatment I need.
“Having two big injuries like that – two seasons in a row with season-ending injuries – it takes a toll on you. After you get over the physical part, the mental part kicks in and that is what I had to get over.
“I’m out here, I’m okay, I’m getting stronger and I had to just focus on that – I’ll be ok and I can just play my game.”
Walker doesn’t rule out three 1,000 yard rushers at Arkansas this season.
“That would be the goal,” Walker said. “We compete in that room and everything has to be up to par with us…We have to be the (heart)beat of this team and we pride ourselves on being the best group on this team.”
Arkansas starting quarterback Brandon Allen was the other big offensive star as he went 17-of-21 passing for 230 yards and three touchdowns.
That included a 65-yard touchdown pass to Keon Hatcher.
“I came in with Brandon and I have just seen him improve every single year that he has been here,” Walker said. “I have total confidence in him that he is going to come in and he is going to work.
“He is not going to complain about anything and he is just going to put in the work. He has gotten better every single year.”
It’s clear that both are enjoying being around new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Dan Enos.
“Definitely,” Walker said. “Coach Enos played the position so he knows stuff that Brandon sees and he goes through. Having him on the same page as BA and them being able to talk through stuff is really helping out.”
Kody Walker heads to the end zone on his 25-yard touchdown run on Saturday.
Walker Goes Beast Mode In Red-White Game
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