U-M’s Harbaugh, MSU’s Walker III Earn National Awards

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III both earned national awards this week.

Harbaugh was named the AP Coach of the Year on Friday, beating out Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell. Harbaugh is the first Michigan coach to ever win the award and the first Big Ten coach to win it since Joe Paterno in 2005.

Harbaugh has led Michigan to a 12-1 record and a berth in the College Football Playoff. The Wolverines beat rival Ohio State this season and won the Big Ten Championship for the first time since 2004.

Meanwhile, Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III won two awards on Thursday night, the Doak Walker Award and the Walter Camp Award.

The Doak Walker Award is given annually to the best running back in college football. Missouri’s Tyler Badie and Iowa State’s Breece Hall were the other two finalists.

The Walter Camp Award is presented annually to the national player of the year and is one of three such awards (the Maxwell Award and the Heisman Trophy being the other two).

Walker III finished second in the nation in rushing yards this season with 1,636 yards and also scored 19 touchdowns.

Walker III is the first Spartan to win the Walter Camp Award and the first player to ever win the Walter Camp Award but not be named a Heisman Trophy finalist. Meanwhile, Harbaugh won the AP Coach of the Year but did not win Big Ten Coach of the Year, which went to MSU’s Mel Tucker.