A new generation discovers Herschel Walker

Herschel Walker's legend spreads thanks to ESPN. (University of Georgia)

Herschel Walker's legend spreads thanks to ESPN. (University of Georgia)

My teenage daughter Olivia has probably always known who Herschel Walker is — she could hardly have grown up in our Bulldog household and not been aware of No. 34.

But until she sat down to watch ESPN’s documentary on Herschel Wednesday night, I don’t think she’d ever paid that much attention to the specifics of his story and just how amazing he really was. After all, his playing days at Georgia were over long before she was born.

She really got into watching the game footage from Herschel’s time at UGA and was amazed to learn he was only 6-feet-1. “He looks so big!”

Reliving those glory days was fun, even for someone who wasn’t around back then. She wanted to know where I watched the Sugar Bowl against Notre Dame and whether I was on my feet and yelling. (She pretty much already knew the answer to that latter part.)

And she particularly enjoyed the footage of 49-year-old Herschel putting the current Bulldogs through a grueling workout recently — and showing up most of them.

By the end of the program, Olivia was on the iPad, scouring the Internet for more on Herschel Walker. She was, she told her mother, reading about “one of the greatest football players ever.”

The greatest, honey. Ever.

“Storied: Herschel Walker” repeats tonight at midnight on ESPNU. It’s definitely worth your time. And your children’s.

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111 comments Add your comment

Richmond Hill

September 8th, 2011
12:59 pm

Ghost of Wally Butts, you hit the nail on the head. I have been posting all of those things throughout the week and AJC has blocked my posts. Not politcally correct? Wonder if this one will go through. At least yours did. Thanks

Reality Dawg

September 8th, 2011
12:59 pm

If Herschel cleared the linebackers he was generally off to the races. I remember several games his freshman year where multiple defenders had the angle on him and then…they didn’t. I believe his 76 yarder in the SC game was the only long run of the day for both teams (watched it from the student section). Both teams had STOUT defenses – and they were bringin’ it.

Richmond Hill

September 8th, 2011
1:00 pm

It’s a miracle. Got it in at last

Devil's Advocate

September 8th, 2011
1:02 pm

UGA81,

We got a better deal on Herschel than Auburn got on Cam Newton.

Richmond Hill

September 8th, 2011
1:05 pm

I was standing on the sidelines with Lewis Grizzard when Herschel vaulted over both lines as well as the goalline to beat Florida–2nd straight year by a score of 26 to 21. Gave me chill bumps I tell ya, and this was the year after he led us to the NC. There may have been better players on other teams since the early 80s but no single player ever stirred the imagination and created the excitement of a university’s fan base the way HW did and, based on the ESPNU special, apparently continues to do.

Had It

September 8th, 2011
1:06 pm

The Ghost of
Wally Butts has it right. CMR has lost complete control of thre team!

Rob

September 8th, 2011
1:14 pm

Herschel will definitely take a job on the UGA staff. He is an academic scholar as he was while at UGA or atleast purported by UGA, FBI agent, Olympic Bobsledder, Restaurant owner, and MMA fighter. Maybe they can erect a monument in Athens.

Rob

September 8th, 2011
1:17 pm

Forgot to mention, he can also drive a Trans Am similar to the one he got brand new after choosing to go to UGA.

Mike T.

September 8th, 2011
1:23 pm

@just saying,
This article was about Herschel, not the current team
or about this weeks game.We understand it hurts you for us to reminisce about Herschel.

Richmond Hill

September 8th, 2011
1:33 pm

Rob, it takes a lot of class for a smart person like yourself to hide behind your computer screen and poke mean-spirited fun at those of those of us who occasionally enjoy relishing past memories. Like the fans of other schools we don’t necessarily “live in” the past, but we do once in a while like recalling the great players of the past. You really have too much time on your hands coming on this blog and acting like the jerk you are.

DogFace Blues

September 8th, 2011
1:36 pm

A man of that stature should enjoy all the spoils. Atleast he wasnt arrogant and mouthy about it. 30 Years ago and he is still a Legend and the Man! Hire him right away, UGA needs some inspiration!

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

September 8th, 2011
1:39 pm

Yea

They need to hire Herschel right away

This team has no motivation and it looks like they need him also to get them in shape

Boise in ATL

September 8th, 2011
1:40 pm

C’mon UGA – please get your act together and go undefeated the rest of the season.

My take on UGA?
1. Really thought the Dome game would have been tighter – I was optimistic that Boise would pull out a victory – and shocked at how poor UGA was that night.
2. 6-7 was not a fluke – it is the state of the program.
3. 2011 is a new season – but UGA looked just as bad in our game – as their worst game in 2010.
4. It’s only one game – and UGA -s 0-1. Nobody thought UGA would be undefeated this year.

Not sure what to think about UGA’s offensive system. Murray had to hold onto the ball as plays seemed slow to develop – and Murray did not have quick read options – like Kellen Moore did – which allowed us to pick UGA apart.

Really surprised UGA did not get any presure onto Kellen Moore.

In the final analysist – Boise was better coached, had better schemes offensively, better scheme defensively, was in better physical shape, was quicker, faster, and pound for pound stronger than UGA. UGA’s O-Line looked too big and slow – could not hold blocks or defend against quicker rushing smaller D-Lineman.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

September 8th, 2011
1:48 pm

Boise in ATL

Yea I knew we were going to get out coached just like we will this Sat

troup Co. Dawg

September 8th, 2011
1:49 pm

I was 7 and 8 years old when Herschel played, but I remember how he dominated College Football week end and week out. He gave it everything he had within him! On every play he gave it all and the O-line would sacrifice it all to open holes for him…I sure wish our team could play with that intensity! He inspired me at a young age to play hard with grit and never be afraid of lighting someone up! We would tear up the yard everyday trying to prove who could best emulate HW! Those were good times!

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

September 8th, 2011
1:51 pm

We arent getting our act together. Yes you had better schemes, in better shape but I disagree about the faster stuff

Our O-line and D-line have no one teaching them technique Boise does

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

September 8th, 2011
1:53 pm

BILL KING

You guys need to fix this stupid filter you have on here.

Its getting to where you cannot post anything

Rob

September 8th, 2011
1:57 pm

Richmond, you are the one that thinks my comments were mean spirited. I was only bringing up his many talents. Now maybe that rubbed you the wrong way but I was speaking the truth. Sorry for that.

RAMBLE ON!!!

September 8th, 2011
2:01 pm

Did the show explain how a poor country boy from Wrightsville, GA. could afford a brand new Trans Am while playing for UGAg?

Herschel's 3rd Personality

September 8th, 2011
2:02 pm

I played football?!?! When??? Hey 2nd….did you know about this??

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

September 8th, 2011
2:03 pm

RAMBLE ON!!!

Still hoping the AJC will do an investigative article on how most of those dumb Tech players get into Tech and stay eligible

I would start in the Business school since most of the football team is taking classes from there

Herschel's 2nd Personality

September 8th, 2011
2:07 pm

Yeah buddy! I think we won a Heisman, too. It doesn’t matter. The money was good….the coke was GREAT….and the boys at the hot tub parties…..well, that’s another story!

WDE

September 8th, 2011
2:11 pm

@RAMBLE ON!!! Hey there Bug Boy how is probation working out for Bug U…and now that Dragon Con is over think you guys will sell out a game this year? Sad really last Thursday the ATL was awash with Nerds and you pitiful folks couldn’t sell out that crackerjack box you call Grant Field…so sad.

allwehaveishope

September 8th, 2011
2:12 pm

HW was the best college RB, ever. He loves challenges but he has too many irons in the fire to accept a full time coaching job.

Watching how the dawgs are slowly but surely sinking to the depths of the SEC, while with few exceptions the rest of the league have us in their rear view mirror, it’s great to relive the glory days and nwatch Hershel run.

seabass

September 8th, 2011
2:23 pm

Richt should take over the play calling this week instead of waiting till after the South Carolina game.Win or loose he needs to do the play calling.

Tyger

September 8th, 2011
2:40 pm

Herschel has a son. Offer him a scholarship now.

chickenman

September 8th, 2011
2:48 pm

“MY GOD HES RUNNING OVER PEOPLE”

LHarding Dawg

September 8th, 2011
2:51 pm

Herschel got screwed out of two heisman trophy’s. He was far and away the best football player in America for the three years he played college football. There will never be another Herschel.

chickenman

September 8th, 2011
2:51 pm

guys i think we will be fine this weekend… boise did the same thing to VA Tech.. seriously i was there… they made their line look like highschool kids that night.. as they did our beloved dawgs… SC poises a tough pass rush but i say run at that freshman de EVERYDOWN… he may be the best pass rushing end to come out of highschool in years but hes not a run end

chaingangdawg

September 8th, 2011
2:53 pm

The ghost of wally Butts, the comment you just posted is well said, there will never ever be another Herschel Walker, the only way to see it is on the tube just like last night!!!

solja

September 8th, 2011
3:12 pm

As always….when the actual season begins, and losses beging to pile up….let’s pull out good ol’ Herschel!!!! ‘member dem days boys?” Yeeeeeeeeeeee Hawwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!

Buck Blew

September 8th, 2011
3:14 pm

sorry bud……herschel walker is not the greatest football player ever. he’s not even in the top 10 if you combine college and pro careers. he’s definitely in the top 10 of greatest college football players ever but not the best. barry sanders was the greatest college player ever.

BG

September 8th, 2011
3:15 pm

Walker was a beast! GO DAWGS!!

Coarch Richt

September 8th, 2011
3:45 pm

Hershel would have made a pretty good tight end on our team.

JK

September 8th, 2011
3:47 pm

Is anyone else as skeptical about the 3-4 defense as I am? We are averaging more points per game over the last 3-4 years that we did in Richt’s 1st 3-4 years yet we are losing now. Why blame Bobo when is producing more points per game than Richt did when Richt was calling the plays?

N. Saban

September 8th, 2011
3:53 pm

You’re right JK. That 3-4 scheme will never work in CFB.

True Dawg

September 8th, 2011
3:54 pm

Herschel is the greatest! He needs to be UGA’s strength and conditioning coach!

FaithfulDawg86

September 8th, 2011
4:06 pm

It was an amazing show about an amazing man – not to mention the greatest college football player ever. Thanks, ESPN. I hope it’s required viewing in Butts-Mehre this week!

FaithfulDawg86

September 8th, 2011
4:08 pm

Buck Blew: ESPN and Sports Illustrated have named Herschel greatest college running back, any analyst worth his salt will say the same, and I think even most of our “enemies” agree that he was the best. Go troll somewhere else.

Doc Holliday

September 8th, 2011
4:10 pm

Herschel Walker doesn’t take steriods. Steroids take Herschel Walker.

Fire Mark Richt

September 8th, 2011
5:01 pm

I was old enough to watch Herschel do his thing, and caught almost every minute of it either by listening to Munson or watching on TV, although the latter was a rare treat in those days.

Youtube has made it possible to relive Herschel’s highlights, and it surprises me that his long TDs were even more spectacular than I remembered. The 76-yarder against South Carolina is my favorite. Two guys appear to have a slight angle on him, and he blows past them easily. His speed in the open field was unreal.

I recently discovered a video of Herschel bowling over Pitt linebacker Sal Sunseri, who’s now an assistant at Alabama. Herschel gained 15 yards where a mere mortal would have gained 1 or 2 at best. He was truly amazing.

And to think that we also had a great defense back then. So good that we went 10-1-1 the year after Herschel left. The entire class was great. ‘80-’83 was something special.

Fire Mark Richt

September 8th, 2011
5:07 pm

“Why blame Bobo when is producing more points per game than Richt did when Richt was calling the plays?”

I’ve been asking that question for two years on this site myself, JK. Mark Richt is an offensive coach and an experienced play caller. He’s the highest ranking offensive coach on staff (obviously). And he basically fired himself as coordinator back in ‘06 because, truth be told, he wasn’t getting the job done anymore. If we’re really being honest, Georgia’s offense from ‘01-’05 wasn’t always that great, but the defense usually was.

Why Bobo gets the lion’s share of the blame is beyond me. I think some people are still in denial about Richt’s limitations as a coach.

dawgster7

September 8th, 2011
5:09 pm

I was a freshman at UGA with Herschel and it still seems like a magical time watching the greatest college running back to ever play the game. He took a so-so talented team and led them to the Promise Land and he is still an amzing athlete! Walker My Dawg!!!

SEC Fan

September 8th, 2011
5:27 pm

I was priviliged to watch Herschel play all three years. There will never be another Herschel Walker. He was a once in a lifetime player.

Sam

September 8th, 2011
5:53 pm

When the College Football HOF opens in Atlanta, you need to take her. The South Bend HOF had a lot of great Herschel footage.

Wooky

September 8th, 2011
5:59 pm

After the game at the Marta station a guy in a Florida t-shirt said he was sorry for what had happened to Georgia. So I left the Marta station and went to Dragon*Con in my UGA shirt where I proceeded to get beat up by Elves.

Johnnyvet

September 8th, 2011
6:22 pm

I had the honor of watching Herschel in high school. He not only was a great running back, but he also played linebacker. I heard a rumor that Dooley was going to use him at linebacker instead of tail back. I knew that where ever they put him, he would still be a star.

Comment ratings

September 8th, 2011
6:43 pm

What I love about watching Herschel is when he first breaks out and it looks like the DBs have an easy angle, and then suddenly they don’t. In his late teens, his speed was shocking for a guy his size.

tim

September 8th, 2011
7:00 pm

Bill, is there any word when this will air on Espn or Espn 2?
(Don’t have Espn U)

DP

September 8th, 2011
7:29 pm

Herschel was one of the all time great college football players, but I couldn’t sit through the ESPNU piece last night after the pathetic reenactment bits of a young Herschel allegedly getting beat up in grade school, starting to work out and then outrunning a train, with narration from Herschel. I suspect he had approval of everything up to and including the script.