New-look Arkansas senior tailback Kody Walker has a plan in place and a goal in mind.
Walker, who will be in his sixth season at Arkansas next fall after getting a hardship, has lost 22 pounds during the off-season and is now at 243.
“It feels good,” the 6-foot-2 Walker said. “The weight is still coming off and I still have a little ways to go, but I feel great.
“…“I want to get down to 235 to 240 range. At the (Liberty) Bowl game, I was 265.”
How’s he done it?
“’I’ve been eating right,” Walker said. “ It’s definitely hard. I was a late night kind of guy and I definitely changed a lot in my diet. I got on the AdvoCare Challenge and did that and I have been doing a lot of conditioning. At 260 I felt pretty good but dropping that much weight I feel great now.”
Walker, who had 90 carries for 394 yards and six touchdowns last season, says one big key is staying away from his favorite food.
“I love fried chicken and I haven’t been eating any fried chicken,” noted Walker, who has 644 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns in his injury plagued career. “I have been eating baked chicken and a lot of vegetables.”
Walker was at his best down the stretch of the 2015 season as he got healthy had 88 yards at LSU, 77 against Missouri and 56 yards in the Liberty Bowl.
He got 42 carries in those three games while amassing 321 yards.
“It was so much fun to be healthy and contributing,” Walker said. “My goal is to stay healthy and do that from the start this season.”
Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema says he can see the difference in Walker in this being the first year he sees a path to be the starter.
“Even before there was talk I would be the No. 1 guy I already had it in my head to drop weight,” Walker said. "I had a discussion with Coach B and that’s the first thing I thought of.
“Being my sixth and last year this is my one chance. I just have to do the right things.”
Walker, who played at 235 at Jefferson City, Mo., High, will share carries this spring with Damon "Duwop" Mitchell, Juan Day, Denzell Evans and Rawleigh Williams. Williams will not go through contact drills.
The Razorbacks will then add in freshmen Devwah Whaley and T.J. Hammonds.
Walker is slotted to play tailback this season after being pegged for fullback last season and adding weight to play that position.
“Exactly,” Walker said. “That is what I thought I was going to do so I got up to 260 thinking that injuries happen and whatnot. I ended staying at that weight because I didn’t want to cut that much weight during the season.”
Walker was quick to say he still felt fast at 265 last season, but admits that he is different at his current weight.
“Any time you can shed some pounds, especially as much as I am trying to shed, you will feel faster in cuts and everything will be much more great,” Walker said.
He still plans to be a downhill runner.
“I really don’t see nothing really changing too much as far as may game, but I will still be that heavy, heavy hitter and heavy runner,” Walker said. “I just think I will be quicker and faster.”