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Remembering College Football Legend Doak Walker 130

Posted on January 01, 2012 by Dean Hybl

Doak Walker won the 1948 Heisman Trophy and finished third in the voting in 1947 and 1949.

It was 85 years ago today, January 1, 1927, that one of the great legends of college football was born in Dallas, Texas. At a time soon after World War II when college athletics was at its peak, Doak Walker became a national hero and Heisman Trophy winner for the Southern Methodist Mustangs.

A high school teammate of another Texas football legend, Bobby Layne, Walker was a triple threat as a running back, defensive back and kicker. While Layne decided to play collegiately at the University of Texas, Walker chose to stay in Dallas and attend SMU.

While Walker played football, basketball and baseball at SMU, it was on the gridiron where he gained his greatest fame.

After playing briefly for the Mustangs as a freshman in 1945 and then serving 1946 in the Army, Walker started to build his legacy during the 1947 campaign. Dangerous both as a runner and passer, Walker quickly developed into one of the top players in the country.

The 1947 Mustangs won their first nine games before ending the year with ties against TCU (19-19) in the regular season finale and Penn State (13-13) in the Cotton Bowl. In the game against TCU, Walker had runs of 80, 61 and 56 yards. He finished the year third in the Heisman Trophy balloting behind John Lujack and Bob Chappius.

The next season Walker claimed the Heisman Trophy while leading SMU to a 9-1-1 record and their second straight Southwest Conference Championship.

It was during this season that SMU began playing their home games permanently in the newly expanded Cotton Bowl, which became known as “The House That Doak Built.” The season ended with a 21-13 victory over the University of Oregon (quarterbacked by Norm Van Brocklin) in the Cotton Bowl.

After starting the 1949 season with a 5-1-1 record, the Mustangs lost their final three games to end the season with a 5-4-1 mark.

Though Walker did not repeat as the Heisman Trophy Winner (Walker finished third behind Leon Hart and Charlie Justice), he did earn consensus All-America honors for the third straight year.

SMU posted a 23-5-4 record during Walker’s final three seasons and won a pair of SWC championships. He completed his college career with 288 points, 2,076 rushing yards, 1,786 passing yards (completing 128 of 22 attempts), 454 yards receiving, 764 yards returning kickoffs and 750 yards returning punts.

Walker was selected by the New York Bulldogs with the third pick of the 1949 NFL Draft, but never played for the Bulldogs as he returned to SMU for the 1949 season and then was traded to the Detroit Lions. Read the rest of this entry →

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