It’s been 35 years since Herschel Walker last run over a Southeastern Conference linebacker. That’s a long time.
But football legends in the South die hard. Sometimes they don’t die at all. Herschel Walker, now 55 years old, comes to mind. The former Georgia Bulldog tailback and the three time All-American is one guy whose memory refuses to fade. Just the other day in La-Grange a kid was walking down the street on Christmas Eve and the youngster was wearing a white t-shirt with No. 34 on the back with the name, Herschel Walker, spelled out in Georgia Bulldog red.
Obviously this local kid had never seen Walker play at Georgia because Herschel “The Dog” hasn’t played in college since 1982, long before this La-Grange kid was born. But that is just it.
Herschel Walker has a growing list of fans who never saw him play in person or on television. But these modern day football fans want to be like Walker. The Bulldog fandom likes winners, and No. 34 is one of the most prolific college football players of all time. From 1980 through ’82 there was not a better college football player than Walker on the landscape in the United States. The case can also be made that Walker was the best college football player of all time. Even as a freshman, No. 34 rushed for 1,616 yards and 15 touchdowns. Walker led Georgia to a 12-0 record and the national championship in 1980. In his freshman season at UGA, Walker sprinted and bulldozed his way for 145 yards against Texas A& M, 238 yards against Florida and 283 yards against Vanderbilt.
Walker broke tackles. He looked for contact and collisions. Walker ran with abandon, and he was physical. No. 34 had speed and power. And that is why Walker was one of the best college football players of his era and every other era. Herschel “The Dog,” born in Augusta, raised in Wrightsville and headed to Athens, was the equal or better than any college football player in history, including Red Grange of Illinois, Glenn Davis of Army, Johnny Lujack of Notre Dame, Alan Ameche of Wisconsin, Billy Cannon from LSU, Steve Spurrier from Florida (quarterback, 1964-66), O.J. Simpson from Southern Cal, and Pat Sullivan and Bo Jackson from Auburn.
In his three seasons with Georgia, Herschel Walker led the Bulldogs to a record of 33-3 with three SEC championships and one national title. Walker also ran over the California Golden Bears for 167 yards as a sophomore, along with a 167-yard game against South Carolina and a 225yard outing against Georgia Tech. Walker and Georgia beat the Yellow Jackets by the score of 44-7 in the 1981 season.
Walker also ran past the Florida Gators for 192 yards as a sophomore and 219 yards on 35 carries as a junior. Walker never lost to Florida in three tries. He also won the Heisman Trophy in his sophomore campaign.
Herschel Walker finished his college football career with 5,259 yards and 53 touchdowns (49 rushing, four receiving). He also has a national championship ring, and Georgia has retired Walker’s No. 34 jersey. But it is okay to walk down the street in such a Bulldog jersey.
Hunker down you Hairy Dogs.