FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas senior running back Kody Walker has been with the program a loooong time. So long, in fact, that Walker actually signed with the Razorbacks in 2011, nearly two full years before Bret Bielema became head coach.
Walker appeared in the first three games of his true freshman season and rushed for 5 touchdowns before suffering a season-ending stress fracture. Walker returned the next season and played in two games before breaking a leg.
The NCAA granted him medical hardship waivers for both seasons, which has allowed him to be back for a rare sixth year.
Last season, he rushed for 394 yards and 6 touchdowns as a secondary rusher behind star Alex Collins, who is now with the Seattle Seahawks.
The injury bug bit Walker again, though, when he broke his right foot in the middle of April during spring practices. But Walker was able to return for fall camp and although he’s missed a couple practices, he will be full-go for the Hogs’ season opener Sept. 3 against Louisiana Tech.
Following Thursday’s practice, Walker was announced as a 2016 Arkansas team captain along with fellow seniors Dan Skipper, Brooks Ellis and Deatrich Wise Jr.
Shortly after that announcement, Walker joined Bielema and running backs coach Reggie Mitchell on “On the Air with Bret Bielema,” Bielema’s weekly radio show.
Asked by host Chuck Barrett — the radio “voice of the Razorbacks” — about being named a captain, Walker responded, “It’s definitely an honor. Anytime your peers look at you as a captain, as a leader, it’s definitely an honor. I’m excited for the season.”
With Collins and Jonathan Williams now in the NFL, the Hogs will look to Walker, sophomore Rawleigh Williams III and true freshman Devwah Whaley to replace that lost production.
“I just want to be a great leader for my team,” Walker said on Thursday’s radio show. “I’ve got a young room, and I want to be a great example for those guys and help them along the way because I know how that is, being a young guy.
“A lot of those guys are gonna have to play for us this year, and I think they’re ready to go. I’m excited to lead this team.”