LARAMIE -- Kenneth Walker III rushed for 1,636 yards in 2021.

He did all that damage on 263 carries during his junior season at Michigan State. That's an average of 6.2 yards per tote.

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The 5-foot-9, 211-pound running back eclipsed the 100-yard mark eight times that year. Twice he rushed for more than 200, including a 264-yard performance in a road win at Northwestern. He capped that season with 19 total touchdowns, 18 of which came on the ground.

The accolades came pouring in.

Walker was named to the All-Big Ten team and claimed unanimous All-American honors. He hoisted both the Walter Camp and Doak Walker Award. He also earned the title of Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year.

A couple months later, he was the second-round selection of the Seattle Seahawks.

Wyoming's new offensive coordinator Jay Johnson sees some similarities between Walker and his newest running back Harrison Waylee.

"Well, I hope I do," said Johnson, who coached Walker at MSU in 2000 and '01. "Yeah, some of the things I've seen on film and watching a bunch of the cut ups with the staff and whatnot, there's some good examples of that."

Waylee rushed for 947 yards in his first season in Laramie. He finished his junior campaign with just 164 carries thanks to offseason knee surgery, a mid-season ankle injury and other ailments. He missed the Cowboys first two games and was forced to the sidelines in a crucial road showdown with Air Force.

When healthy, the 5-foot-10, 200-pound Northern Illinois transfer was nothing short of dynamic.

On just his second carry in a Wyoming uniform, Waylee took a handoff, burst through the line and ran away from the Texas secondary en route to a 62-yard touchdown. He finished the night with 110 yards on just 18 attempts in his return to action. The Johnston, Iowa product added 156 more on the ground the following week against Appalachian State and tacked on 191 in a rout of New Mexico.

Aside from a 128-yard performance against Colorado State in Week 8, Waylee failed to hit the century mark over the final four games.

"Obviously, I think he got banged a little bit here and there," Johnson said. "But, you know, Harrison -- along with some of the other ones -- it's exciting because I do think they have some of those (qualities)."

Johnson reaped the benefit of Walker's breakdown season in East Lansing. He was named a finalist for the Broyles Award, which is given to the top assistant in college football.

Having a 3,000-yard passer in Payton Thorne certainly helped. So did the 1,026 yards receiving from Jayden Reed. Walker, however, was the key as the Spartans rolled to an 11-2 mark and a berth in the Peach Bowl.

Can Waylee replicate that success?

Could Wyoming feature a two -- or even three -- headed monster in the backfield with a healthy Dawaiian McNeely and incoming North Carolina transfer DJ Jones? The stable is also stocked with Sam Scott, Jamari Ferrell and incoming freshman Dontae Burch.

Johnson said Walker's shoes won't be easy to fill.

"Ken was pretty special, obviously," he said. "We were blessed to have him. But, yeah, I think some of the guys here have some tendencies toward Ken."

Spring football practice in Laramie is set to begin on March 26.

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