At SEC Media Days 2019 in Hoover, Alabama, the trio of Southeastern Conference legends took center stage to address the media and promote the film “Saturdays in the South: A History of SEC Football.” While there were tons of nostalgic stories from the football icons, none was more incredible than Walker’s recruiting story and how he chose to attend UGA in the first place.
As a member of the Georgia Bulldogs football team, Walker put together arguably the greatest career by a running back in college football history. The following were the records Walker owned when he left Georgia after three seasons for the USFL. His ranking as it stands today is in parenthesis:
Single-Season Rushing Attempts: 385 (2nd)
Single-Season Rushing Yards: 1,891 (3rd)
Single-Season Rushing Touchdowns: 18 (T-14th)
Career Rushing Attempts: 994 (Still the record)
Career Rushing Yards: 5,259 (Still the record)
Career Rushing Touchdowns: 49 (2nd)
At SEC Media Days, the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner shared the story of not only how he ended up in Athens in the first place, but how he nearly skipped football altogether to serve in the United States military.
How was the future of the greatest RB in college history decided? A coin flip.
“The reason I didn’t sign (with Georgia) until April because I thought, ‘As long as I don’t say anything, they’ll let me go to the military.’ And on Easter Sunday, in April, my mom said, ‘You know, Bo…’ my nickname was ‘Bo’ so Bo Jackson wanted to be me. My mom said, ‘You know Bo don’t you think it’s time you decide what you want to do?’ And before I could say anything, she said, ‘Let me tell you this: If your mind and your heart is pure by the Lord Jesus, it really don’t matter about your decision.’
“So I said alright I’ll flip a coin. And I flipped the coin to decide whether to go to the military or go to college. And I go crap (after the coin lands on the college side). And then I’m going to the University of Georgia, and I was upset because God wouldn’t let me do what I wanted to do. And I flipped a coin again: Clemson or the University of Georgia? Georgia end up winning the coin toss. And then I said, ‘I’d love to go to USC out in California.’ I flipped a coin between those two schools and Georgia won that as well.
“And this is no lie: I pull the names out of a bag, and I pulled Georgia. And at that time I said I was going to Georgia, and that’s how I ended up at Georgia. And sometimes when you’re naive and stupid, God will take care of you because that was the right decision.”
— Herschel Walker at SEC Media Days
The U.S. military may have missed out on the greatest soldier the world has ever seen, but I’d say Walker made the right choice.
Walker was a three-time All-American at Georgia, Spurrier won the Heisman Trophy at Florida, then coached at both UF and South Carolina, and Archie Manning as an All-American at Ole Miss. All three of them are legends in their own right, but to be honest, none of them measure up to the legacy Herschel Walker left behind.