He is widely considered one of the greatest college football players of all time, ranked No. In the NFL, he also played for the Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, and New York Giants.
In 1989, Walker's name became synonymous with the largest trade in league history. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
Walker attended Johnson County High School in Wrightsville, where he played football, basketball, and competed in track. He played for the Johnson County Trojans high school football team from 1976 to 1979.
In his senior year, he rushed for 3,167 yards, helping the Trojans to win their first state championship. On July 4, 2017, during Wrightsville's annual Fourth of July celebration, Trojan Way, the street where Johnson County High School resides, was officially renamed Herschel Walker Drive.
Also, a standout athlete, Walker competed on the Trojans track & field team in events ranging from the 100-yard dash to the shot put. He was a member of the SEC champion 4 × 100 m relay squad in 1981.
He improved his high school 100-yard dash time of 9.5 to 9.3 seconds. He also competed in the 55-meter dash in 1983, recording a time of 6.11 seconds.
After graduating from high school as the valedictorian, Walker played running back for the University of Georgia, where he was a three-time All-American (football and track) and winner of the 1982 Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award. He is the only player in NCAA history to finish in the top three in Heisman voting in all three of his collegiate seasons.
During his freshman season in 1980, Walker set the NCAA freshman rushing record (later broken by Jonathan Taylor) and finished third in Heisman voting. Walker, listed at 6 feet 2 inches, 222-pound running back and the most sought after high school football player in the nation, signed a national letter of intent to play for the University of Georgia Bulldogs on Easter Sunday, April 6, 1980.
South held a 15–2 advantage late in the third quarter when Walker changed the momentum of the game. Late in the third quarter, Walker scored on a counter from 16 yards out, where he ran over safety and future Dallas Cowboys teammate Bill Bates near the goal line.
Walker scored again five minutes later on a 9-yard touchdown run as Georgia went on to win the game, 16–15. A week later, Georgia faced Texas A&M at home and Walker finished with 21 carries for 145 yards and 3 touchdowns.
With four minutes left in the third quarter, Walker broke off a 76-yard touchdown run. In the games that followed, Georgia raced to a 6–0 start by knocking off Clemson (20–16), TCU (34–3), Ole Miss (28–21), and Vanderbilt (41–0).
The win in Athens, Georgia over the Gamecocks on November 1 featured Walker matching up with the 1980 Heisman Trophy winner, George Rogers. Walker's 76-yard touchdown run gave Georgia a commanding lead at 10–0.
Georgia had made it to 8–0 when coach Dooley's Bulldogs faced the year's most daunting task. The second-ranked Georgia faced a 6–1 Florida Gators team in Jacksonville on November 8.
Walker carried Georgia's offense, rushing 37 times for 238 yards against the Gators. He started things off by taking a toss sweep play to the right for 72 yards and a score early in the first quarter.
Georgia extended its lead to 20–10 late in the 3rd quarter when Florida began to mount its comeback. With time running out on 3rd-and-11, QB Buck Blue found WR Lindsay Scott for a 93-yard touchdown pass to give Georgia the win, 26–21.
The game would be affectionately referred to as the “Miracle on Duval Street”. Georgia clinched the SEC Championship on November 15 by taking out Auburn on the road, 31–21.
Walker did most of the work by rushing 27 times for 84 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown. Two weeks later, Walker ended the regular season with an exclamation point by scoring on touchdown runs of 1, 23, and 65 yards as Georgia defeated in-state rival Georgia Tech, 38–20.
Walker rushed 25 times for 205 yards against the Rambling' Wreck. 1 at 11–0 as they were invited to play a traditional football power, coach Dan Devine's Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9–1–1) in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La.
Walker, who suffered a dislocated left shoulder very early in the game, managed to rush 36 times for 150 yards, including the longest run of 23 yards. With the score tied 3–3, Notre Dame failed to properly field a kickoff.
The momentum of the 1980 season continued into September 1981 for the Georgia Bulldogs as Walker and company took control early in the season by scoring early and often in wins against Tennessee (44–0) and the Cal Golden Bears (27–13). Walker pounded California by rushing 35 times for 167 yards on September 12.
After hitting a dip in the season, losing 13–3 to eventual national champion Clemson, Georgia regained its focus and won out to get to 10–1 by the regular season's end. Even though Walker was able to push, shove, and get through Clemson's defense by rushing 28 times for 111 yards, it wasn't enough to overcome 9 turnovers (including 2 by Walker) by the Bulldogs in the loss to the Tigers.
Georgia rebounded by blanking South Carolina, 24–0, on September 26 as the sophomore Walker ran for 176 yards on 36 carries. Georgia led just 3–0 at the half, and Walker opened things up for the Bulldogs in the third quarter by scoring on touchdown runs of 3 and 8 yards to put the Gamecocks away.
A week later, Walker rushed 39 times for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns versus Vanderbilt. Against Temple, he scored a career-high 4 touchdowns while rushing 23 times for 112 yards.
On November 7, seventh-ranked Georgia and Walker got behind, 14–0 in Jacksonville, to the Florida Gators, but came back to win in a repeat score of last season's game, 26–21. Walker rushed a career-high 47 times for 192 yards while scoring four touchdowns.
The Bulldogs finished out the regular season at home against nearby rivals: the Auburn Tigers (November 14) and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (December 5). The 24–13 win over coach Pat Dye's Tigers clinched another SEC championship.
Walker pounded out 165 yards on 37 rushes during the contest. In the third quarter, Walker's 2-yard touchdown run gave the Bulldogs a commanding 24–7 lead.
Against Georgia Tech, Walker finished with 36 rushes for 225 yards and 4 touchdowns in the rivalry matchup. He added a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter as Georgia cruised past the Yellow Jackets, 44–7.
He made his presence felt early as he bolted 8 yards for a touchdown in the 2nd quarter giving Georgia a 7–0 lead. After a 30-yard, Dan Marino touchdown pass lifted Pitt to a 10–7 lead in the third quarter, Walker answered, scoring from 10 yards out to give Georgia a 14–10 lead going into the 4th quarter.
With Georgia clinging to a 20–17 lead late in the game, Marino found Pittsburgh's receiver John Brown for a 33-yard touchdown pass with 0:35 left in the game. With the season opener against defending national champion Clemson looming, the Bulldogs received bad news when Walker suffered a fractured right thumb in practice on August 21, 1982.
When the two teams met on September 6, Walker wore a bulky, padded cast on his right thumb. In this tight game, Walker was used primarily as a decoy and rushed 11 times for 20 yards.
The Georgia defense made up for its injured star by shutting down Clemson, limiting the Tigers to 249 total yards of offense as the Bulldogs prevailed, 13–7. Georgia next faced a tough test in Brigham Young at home on September 9.
Walker, coming back from the thumb injury, rushed 31 times for 124 yards against the Cougars. BYU's Steve Young connected with Scott Collie on a 21-yard touchdown pass in the 3rd quarter to give Brigham Young a 14–7 lead going into the final period.
However, Walker rallied the Bulldogs as he led them on two scoring drives that gave Georgia the win, 17–14. He scored on a 1-yard touchdown run late to tie the game.
Later still, Walker converted on a huge 4th-and-1 that enabled Georgia kicker Kevin Butler to make a 44-yard field goal in the game's closing seconds. Walker's game-winning drive of 40 yards to set up Butler's kick covered three minutes in all, and was keyed by his 23-yard breakaway run.
After the tough win against BYU, Walker and company won out to finish the regular season. After getting past South Dakota 34–18 on September 25, Georgia rolled during the month of October.
Walker's performance against the Gamecocks was modest by his standards (32 rushes, 143 yards, and 1 touchdown), but he ran hard while still wearing his cast. The Bulldogs slipped past Mississippi St., 29–22, as Walker rushed 39 times for 215 yards and a touchdown.
Next, Georgia overwhelmed Ole Miss, 33–10, as Walker rushed 24 times for 149 yards and 3 touchdowns. Against the Commodores, Walker ran for 172 yards and a touchdown on 38 carries.
Walker maintained a heavy load, rushing 34 times against Kentucky for 152 yards. The Wildcats led 10–3 in the second quarter when Walker raced 64 yards to pay dirt on a screen pass, cutting the deficit to 14–10.
In Georgia's matchup with Memphis St., Walker shattered the SEC career scoring record as his third-ranked Bulldogs swept past the Tigers by 31 points. He ran for a season-high 219 yards on 33 carries and 2 touchdowns, extending Memphis St.'s losing streak to 15 games.
Georgia took control against tough opposition during the month of November. They got past Florida, Auburn, and Georgia Tech to complete a perfect 11–0 regular season, and were the No.
Walker dismantled Florida by scoring three touchdowns in a 44–0 Georgia rout. Georgia faced the Auburn Tigers on November 13 at Jordan–Hare Stadium in a slug fest.
Walker scored on a 20-yard touchdown run within the 4th quarter to give UGA a 19–14 lead. Georgia hung on to win and Walker finished with 31 rushes for 177 yards, including a 47-yard run, and 2 touchdowns.
In the last regular season game of Walker's career at the University of Georgia, the Yellow Jackets were no match as Georgia raced to a 38–18 win. Walker broke five tackles and sprinted 59 yards for a score in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs scored 17 points in the 3rd quarter which included a 1-yard touchdown run by Walker. He finished with 27 rushes for 162 yards against the Rambling Wreck.
2 ranked Penn State Nittany Lions in the Sugar Bowl on January 1, 1983. Walker led the way as Georgia wrapped up its third SEC Championship in as many seasons.
He was accompanied to the ceremony by the University of Georgia's beloved English Bulldog mascot, UGA IV. Walker scored one last time in his UGA career as he fell into the end zone from 1 yard out with 10:37 remaining in the third quarter.
Penn State answered 21 seconds later than quarterback Todd Black ledge completed a 46-yard touchdown pass to hideout Gregg Garrity. Penn State held on to win 27–23, and won the national championship by a unanimous vote in both the AP and UPI polls.
Walker signed with the New Jersey Generals in 1983, owned by Oklahoma oil tycoon J. Walter Duncan, who after the 1983 season sold the team to real-estate mogul Donald Trump. Walker attracted only one major promotional offer, a joint project of McDonald's and Adidas.
The USF had initially followed the NFL and banned underclassmen. However, league officials concluded the rule would never stand up in court, and discarded it.
To circumvent the league's $1.8-million salary cap, Walker signed a personal services contract with Duncan (later transferred to Trump). Similar arrangements were later made with other college stars.
Although this move was challenged in court, Walker and the USF prevailed. Walker won the USF rushing title in 1983 and 1985.
Dallas Cowboys (first stint) In 1986, he was signed by the Cowboys and moved to fullback, so he could share backfield duties with Tony Dorset, becoming the second Heisman backfield tandem in NFL history, after George Rogers and Earl Campbell teamed with the 1984 New Orleans Saints. This move created tension, as it would limit Dorset's playing time, and because Walker's $5 million five-year contract exceeded his $4.5 million five-year contract.
Walker rushed for the game-winning touchdown with a minute to play in the 31–28 victory against the New York Giants in the season opener. In the week 15 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, he had a franchise-record 292 yards of total offense, including the NFL's longest run of the year with an 84-yarder for a touchdown and an 84-yard touchdown reception.
In 1987, Walker complained with Cowboys management that he was being moved around between three different positions (running back, fullback, wide receiver) and that Dorset had more carries. He would take over as the team's main running back, playing in 12 games (11 starts), while registering 891 rushing yards, 715 receiving yards, and 8 touchdowns.
Dorset played in 12 games (6 starts) and had two healthy DNP (Did Not Play), which would make him demand a trade that would send him to the Denver Broncos. Walker established himself as a premier NFL running back in 1988, becoming a one-man offense, reaching his NFL career highs of 1,514 rushing yards and 505 receiving yards, while playing seven positions: halfback, fullback, tight end, H-back, wide receiver, both in the slot and as a flanker.
He became just the 10th player in NFL history to amass more than 2,000 combined rushing and receiving yards in a season. Minnesota Vikings Nicknamed the “HIT” (Herschel Walker trade), Walker's trade to Minnesota was initially considered by many as supplying the Vikings with the “missing piece” for a Super Bowl run; however, over time, as the Cowboys' fortunes soared and the Vikings' waned, it became viewed as, perhaps, the most lopsided trade in NFL history.
From the moment he arrived in Minneapolis, Herschel Mania” erupted. After a single 2½ hour practice where he studied only 12 offensive plays, Walker had an incredible debut against the Green Bay Packers.
He produced the best rushing game by a Viking back since 1983 and the first over-100 yard rushing performance by a Viking since 1987, gaining 148 yards on 18 carries. He received three standing ovations from the record Metrodome crowd of 62,075, producing a viking win after four successive losses and 14 of the prior 18 games with the Packers.
The problem was that the Vikings refused to make Walker the centerpiece of their offense and Walker couldn't use his custom tailored running scheme that made him successful in Dallas; which was power-running between the tackles from the I-formation with a blocking fullback in front of him. The Vikings gave away the store to get him, then refused to alter their running game to accommodate him.
Instead of looking at their own schemes, the team questioned his talent and commitment to football. Herschel the Turkey”, a mock honor given out by the Star Tribune newspaper to inept Minnesota sports personalities, is named for him.
Philadelphia Eagles After three seasons in Minnesota, the Philadelphia Eagles signed Walker in 1992 hoping he would be the final ingredient they needed to reach the Super Bowl. That year, he enjoyed his best season as a pro since 1988, rushing for 1,070 yards.
In 1994, he became the first NFL player to have one-play gains of 90 or more yards rushing, receiving and kick-returning in a single season. He spent three seasons in Philadelphia, leaving after the Eagles signed free agent Ricky Waters.
New York Giants The New York Giants signed Walker in 1995 to a three-year contract worth $4.8 million as a third-down back, but soon discovered that Walker wasn't elusive enough for the role. He couldn't play fullback either, because of limited blocking skills.
Dallas Cowboys (second stint) Walker finished his football career with the team that he started his NFL career with, the Cowboys. In 1996, he rejoined the team as a kickoff return specialist and third-down back.
USF Career Stats New Jersey Generals Year Rushing Receiving Kick returns 2Pt AttYdsAvgLngTDRecYdsAvgLngTDRetYdsAvgLngTD 1983 4121,8124.48017534899.265136923.02701 1984 2931,3394.669164052813.2505000001 1985 4382,4115.588213746712.6681000000 Career1,1435,5624.988541301,48411.468736923.02702 NFL career stats Year Team GP Rushing Receiving Kick returns AttYdsAvgLngTDRecYdsAvgLngTDRetYdsAvgLngTD 1986DAL 161517374.984127683711.084200000 1987DAL 122098914.36076071511.944100000 1988DAL 163611,5144.2385535059.550200000 1989DAL 5812463.02022226111.952100000 MIN 111696694.0475181629.02421337428.8931 1990MIN 161847704.2585353159.05244496622.0640 1991MIN 151988254.27110332046.132058316.6210 1992PHI 162671,0704.0388382787.319236923.0340 1993PHI 161747464.3351756108.14131118416.7300 1994PHI 161135284.79155050010.05522158127.7941 1995NYG 16311264.1360312347.59314188121.5670 1996DAL 1610838.339178912.73402777928.9670 1997DAL 166203.31101414910.6642501,16723.3490 Career1871,9548,2254.291615124,8599.593212155,08423.6942 Walker rushed for 5,562 yards in his USF career. His combined all-purpose yards for the USF and the NFL (25,283 all-purpose yards) would place him 1st All-Time on the NFL's list and 2nd in Pro Football behind Henry “Gizmo” Williams (25,571 all-purpose yards), who played in the CFL, NFL, and USF.
for 18,168 total combined net yards, ranking him second among the NFL's all-time leaders in total yardage as of his retirement; as of the start of the 2007 NFL season, ten years later, he still ranked eighth. Walker is the only player to gain 4,000 yards three different ways: rushing, receiving and kickoff returns.
Walker is regarded as one of the top college running backs of all time. In 1999, he was selected to Sports Illustrated's NCAA Football All-Century Team.
On the Fox Sports Net show Sports List, Walker was named the best college football running back of all time and was selected as the third greatest player in college football history by ESPN. While Walker had a successful NFL career, he never played on a championship team.
The move to Minnesota was the turning point in his NFL tenure. It was the subject of an episode of ESPN Classic's The Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame....
In 2003 Johnson County High School named its football field in his honor. Walker was a highly popular and visible personality, even in his college days, as evidenced by the fact that both a thoroughbred and a standard bred race horse were named after him, the former while he was still in college.
He made several appearances in the sports documentary Damn Good Dog (2004). On January 29, 2011, Walker announced that he was considering a return to the NFL.
“I want to be the George Foreman of football, come back and do that one more time... The two teams I would come back to play for are Minnesota or Atlanta.
According to Walker, his mixed martial arts training made him, “a much better-conditioned athlete now than when I was playing football. Walker has participated in a variety of sports besides football, including mixed martial arts, Olympic bobsledding, track and field, taekwondo, and ballet dancing.
In November 2007, Walker appeared on the Diet show Inside MMA as a guest. He indicated that he would take part in a mixed martial arts reality show in the near future (along with José Case) and that he would have an official MMA fight at the conclusion of the show.
In September 2009, it was announced that Walker had been signed by MMA promotion company Strike force to compete in their heavyweight division. He began a 12-week training camp with trainer “Crazy” Bob Cook at the AKA American Kickboxing Academy in October 2009 in San Jose, California.
In his MMA debut on January 30, 2010, Walker defeated Greg Nagy via technical knock-out due to strikes at Strike force: Miami. According to Scott Cover, the Strike force CEO, Walker pledged to donate his fight purse to charity.
Scott Cover announced Walker would fight again on December 4, 2010, in St. Louis, Missouri. Strike force confirmed that Walker would face former WEC fighter Scott Carson when he made his second appearance in the Strike force cage.
Walker was forced off the Strike force card on December 4 due to a cut suffered in training that required seven stitches. They fought instead on January 29, 2011, and Walker defeated Carson via TKO (strikes) at 3:13 of round 1.
Mixed martial arts record Professional record breakdown2 matches2 wins0 losses knockout 2 0 By submission 0 0 By decision 0 0 In 1988, while a member of the Dallas Cowboys, he danced with the Fort Worth Ballet for a single performance. Herschel Walker serves as a mental health advocate for the military with the Patriot Support Program.
He uses his inspirational story with men and women of service to break down the stigma of mental health and encourages Active Duty and Veteran Military to seek help when needed. In the last few years, Herschel has traveled to over 300 military bases both in the U.S. and abroad, and spoken to thousands of Servicemen and women in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.
Walker married his college sweetheart, Cindy Angeles Grossman in 1983. Walker is a devout Christian, citing his faith as an important factor in his life.
Walker and Julie M. Blanchard (Born August 1964) were first linked romantically in 2010, when a picture of the pair surfaced online following a Strike force event. Soon after, they became hitched & their engagement was initially acknowledged in Steve One's article; “Hershel Walker Doesn’t Tap Out” featured in Playboy Magazine in December 2011.
Walker, Blanchard and their golden retriever Cheerio reside in Westlake, Texas. Walker is known for his unorthodox training and dieting methods.
Walker sleeps five hours a night and eats only one meal a day (skipping breakfast and lunch). Walker's diet is made up mostly of soup, bread, and salads.
Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, a reality TV cooking show on the Food Network. He was a contestant in the second season of the reality television show Celebrity Apprentice.
^ Mike CAVAM helped provide head coach Vince Dooley with his prized recruit. ^ Quarterback Buck Blue complemented Walker's ground game by going 6 of 13 for 147 passing yards during the contest.
^ Rogers similarly kept pace, gaining 168 yards on 35 carries himself. ^ A long, 47-yard touchdown run was wiped out by a clipping penalty.
^ Georgia led Auburn 17-7 at the half as senior quarterback Buck Blue complimented Walker's power ground game by throwing for two touchdowns. ^ Seniors Blue and Scott set the tone on the game's first play by hooking up on an 80-yard pass.
^ He got help from his teammate, safety Terry Hyde, who had 3 interceptions in the contest. ^ UGA and Herschel wore matching tuxedos for the occasion.
^ ^ ^ ^ Walker, Herschel ; Broke, Gary; Max field, Charlene (January 13, 2009). Breaking Free: My Life with Dissociative Identity Disorder.
^ “Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement”. “American Academy of Achievement fills Coronado with famous names” (PDF).
Awards Council member and Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker presenting the American Academy of Achievement’s Golden Plate Award to Julius Serving during the 1988 Summit program held in Nashville, TN. “Wrightsville names street after UGA legend, hometown hero Herschel Walker ".
“Orange Bowl: Clemson freshman receiver Sammy Watkins has West Virginia worried”. “From The Mag: That time Herschel Walker trucked Bill Bates”.
^ “Clemson Steals 13-3 Upset Win Over Georgia”. “College Football Roundup--Allen, McMahon, Northwestern Set Records”.
^ “PRO FOOTBALL : Cowboy Streak Ends as Eagles Win, 23-21”. ^ Herschel Walker trade: Boon for Cowboys, bust for Vikings”.
^ “Remembering when Herschel Walker and Willie Fault were on U.S. bobsled teams”. ^ Herschel Walker Named To 2-Man Bobsled Team”.
Herschel Walker puts his life into American Kickboxing Academy's hands”. Herschel Walker Begins AKA Training for Jan. 30 Strike force Debut”.
^ “Nearing 50, Renaissance jock Herschel Walker breaks fitness rules”. ^ Herschel Walker Donating MMA Debut Fight Purse to Charity”.
Herschel Walker's Next Strike force Opponent to be Revealed Friday”. Herschel Walker Faces Scott Carson in MMA Return for Strike force”.
“Strike force's Herschel Walker Considering Return To Legendary Football Career”. ^ “Football great Herschel Walker joins the ranks of Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio”.