Kody Walker: A 'pick 6' for Razorbacks

Kody Walker: A 'pick 6' for Razorbacks


Kody Walker: A 'pick 6' for Razorbacks


Kody Walker, a Razorbacks running back since 2011, has been granted an extra year of eligibility through the 2016 season.

Arkansas Razorbacks running back Kody Walker (24) rushes against the UAB Blazers at Donald W. Reynolds Stadium in Fayetteville last season. Walker was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA on Wednesday.

Arkansas Razorbacks running back Kody Walker (24) rushes against the UAB Blazers at Donald W. Reynolds Stadium in Fayetteville last season. Walker was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA on Wednesday.

The University of Arkansas announced Wednesday it was informed by the NCAA and Southeastern Conference that Jefferson City, Mo., native Walker, a fifth-year senior in 2015, is granted another year’s eligibility in 2016 based on medical hardship.

Injuries ended Walker’s 2011 season after three games and his 2012 season after two games, breaking his leg in the same loss to Louisiana-Monroe that sidelined quarterback Tyler Wilson and cornerback Tevin Mitchel with concussions.

If he returns for 2016, Walker will be the last active Razorback who played for coach Bobby Petrino. Walker played three games for Petrino in 2011, two games for John L. Smith in 2012 and the last two seasons for Bret Bielema.

Kody Walker

Kody Walker

“We are very excited to have Kody with us for an additional season,” Bielema said Wednesday in a UA press release. “Adversity has defined him throughout his career and he has championed the moment. Every person on our staff, and every player in our locker room, is pulling for Kody to succeed and we expect him to be a major contributor to our football team.”

Available to media Wednesday afternoon, Walker said he was told after spring ball the appeal process should grant him a sixth year.

“I got the news right after the spring game, actually,” Walker said. ” Coach B had told me and I was ecstatic.”

Walker, 6-foot-2, 250 pounds, was used primarily as a goal-line rusher by Petrino during the first three games of 2011 and accounted for five touchdowns on 20 carries before stress fractures in both legs ended his season.

He logged a 1-yard touchdown opening the 2012 season in a victory over Jacksonville State and caught a pass in the season’s second game before breaking his leg.

Still often limited in 2013, and a spare part behind running backs Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins — and mostly a reserve fullback behind Kiero Small (now with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens) — Walker played in just eight games and netted 32 yards on 6 carries.

“I wouldn’t say I really got my legs back underneath me, feeling really good every day until last season,” Walker said. “So now I’m feeling great.”

Last season, mostly at fullback, Walker logged his first full season, playing every game for the 7-6 Razorbacks. He contributed 31 carries for 149 yards and a touchdown rushing, and caught three passes for 15 yards.

Bielema said even with 1,000-yard rushers Williams and Collins returning, Walker could get increased opportunities this season after his workhorse Red-White game concluded spring practice.

“After just watching Kody Walker, we really feel that we probably will use him more as a running back,” Bielema said. “A fullback in certain situations, but to give him a shot at being in the top two rotation of our running backs.”

With Williams and Collins both withheld to avoid lingering injury risks over the summer, Walker carried 26 times for 174 yards and three touchdowns — one a 44-yard breakaway.

“I’m not going to lie to you, I’m tired,” Walker said, smiling during the Red-White postgame. “That’s the most I have run since high school.”

Bielema beamed about Walker after the spring game, as well.

“I was very pleased with Kody,” Bielema said. “Kody is a very reliable back, a back who could have a very valuable role in our offense.”

Fifth-year senior quarterback Brandon Allen said Walker’s 44-yard breakaway was especially impressive given everyone knows the 250-pounder’s power in short-yardage situations.

“How big of a guy he is, to break away and use his speed for touchdowns is going to be huge for us,” Allen said. “We know about Alex and J. Will. Kody is that big, banging back and he proved it.”

Walker said Wednesday he feels he has proven himself beyond just a short-yardage big back.

“Definitely, definitely,” he said. “That is what I was when I first got here. But I feel like I have transformed my game into what everyone thinks as an every-down back.”

Having played for an 11-2 team in 2011, followed by records of 4-8, 3-9, 7-6 the next three seasons, Walker said the Razorbacks’ spring ball and summer conditioning drills reflect a team that won 3 of its last 4 in 2014, including SEC shutouts at home over ranked LSU and Ole Miss teams, and the 31-7 rout of Texas in the Advocare Texas Bowl.

“Sky is the limit with us,” Walker said. “As long as we stay on pace and do what we are supposed to do, the sky is the limit.”

If Walker does return for 2016, it will be as a graduate student.

Walker said in December he should complete his UA degree in sports management.


Leading rushers for the Razorbacks in 2014






Jonathan Williams





Alex Collins





Kody Walker





Korliss Marshall





Keon Hatcher






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