Michigan State football will deploy RB by committee to replace Kenneth Walker III

Michigan State football will be troubled to emulate the same rushing attack as last season, but with a stable of backs, anything is possible.

Michigan State football is rejuvenated with Mel Tucker at the helm. One of the biggest questions heading into the 2022 season is, who will replace star running back Kenneth Walker III?

The superstar tailback finished sixth in Heisman Trophy voting last season. Walker transferred to Michigan State following a two-year stint with Wake Forest. With the Demon Deacons, Walker recorded back-to-back 579 rushing yard seasons. As a freshman, Walker scored four rushing touchdowns and followed it up with 13 as a sophomore.

Walker busted out with the Spartans totaling 19 touchdowns, rushing for 1,636 yards averaging a stellar 6.2 yards per tote. This production prompted the Seattle Seahawks to select Walker early in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

The Hawks have an immediate need for a bell-cow in the backfield following the organization granting Russell Wilson a trade to the Denver Broncos. With Geno Smith or Drew Lock under center, the run-heavy Pete Carroll offense will be amplified in 2022. The Seahawks lost running back Chris Carson to retirement due to a career-ending neck injury this offseason. That leaves Walker with an opportunity to split carries with Rashaad Penny from Week One.

That type of production will be difficult to emulate for Michigan State football, but it's possible if they deploy a rushing attack by committee.

Michigan State football returned to the transfer portal in hopes of again catching lightning in a battle. The Spartans landed Jalen Berger formally of Wisconsin to be the ‘thunder' to Jarek Broussard‘s ‘lightning' in 2022. Broussard is a grad transfer way of Colorado. A pair of ACL injuries stalled Broussard's career. Once he was healthy and ready to play, Tucker had been in East Lansing. Head coach Tucker initially recruited Broussard to Colorado before accepting the Michigan State football job. Two years later, Broussard hopes to be a vital piece to the Spartan backfield in 2022.

Broussard said this about his decision to join a loaded Michigan State football backfield in 2022.

“I went through a big mental phase of things,” Broussard said. “Just having people like Coach Tuck and Jay Johnson in a corner, just continuing to tell you, ‘It's all gonna be OK, it's part of the game,' and the comfort that they gave me (helped). When I did hit the transfer portal, all these schools reached out to me. When they reached out, I'm not gonna say it was a no-brainer, but that relationship we built during my time at Colorado did play a huge role.”

Broussard is a 5-foot-9 runner that plays around 185-pounds. He led the Buffaloes in rushing over the past two seasons totaling 1,556 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 5.2 yards per carry.

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Michigan State football has a plethora of running backs eager to contribute.

In addition to the two running back transfers, the Spartans have three others looking to receive a piece of the rushing pie. Senior Elijah Collins will look to rejuvenate his college career in '22. Collins rushed for 988 yards and five scores in 2019 on 222 carries. Collins is a stout 6-foot-1, 225-pound powerful runner. In 2021, Collins carried the football just 18 times for 102 yards.

Then there is Jordon Simmons. Simmons totaled 278 rushing yards last season on 70 carries as a sophomore. The group is rounded out by Harold Joiner, who ran for 43 yards on 13 carries last season with the Spartans. Joiner totaled 103 rushing yards plus 163 receiving yards averaging 14.8 yards per reception and three total scores over two years with Auburn before joining Michigan State football.