Thursday, July 19, 2012

Counting down the top Pitt football players of the last 40 years- No.31 Elliot Walker

I will be counting down my own list of the top 50 Pitt football players since 1972.  I have spent time doing a lot of research and talking to a lot of people when formulating this list, but ultimately it is MY opinion.  The great thing about lists like this is that people will disagree, and feel free to, but just remember that there is no right answer so there's no need to go crazy if you do disagree.  I will post this same intro with all 50 bios because I know the one time I don't, people will complain about not knowing what criteria I used.  I will add at least one a day, maybe two.  

My criteria for selecting the order is as follows:

1.  Productivity.
2.  Talent.
3.  Place in program history.
4.  Only the player's careers while at Pitt are considered, not their NFL careers. 
5.  No current players.

31.  Elliot Walker (1974-1977)-  When the Florida native was recruited to play in the same backfield with Tony Dorsett, he was considered Dorsett's heir apparent. Of course things didn't turn out that well, but he still ended up one of the best running backs in Pitt history.

A sign of how good he could be came right off the bat when as a freshman when he ran for an 80-yard touchdown at North Carolina the first time he touched the ball in college.  Later in the season he subbed for the injured Dorsett (then a sophomore), and ran for 169 yards and four touchdowns against Temple.   On the season he ran for 431 yards.  Things initially went downhill from there.  First Walker, and his teammate brother Laverga, were investigated for singing a contract with an agent.  Then Walker, seeing that he would never beat out Dorsett, considered transferring to Miami, FL.

Walker obviously decided to stay and turned into a great blocker for Dorsett.  But he also came up big when called on. As a sophomore, not only did Dorsett run for 142 yards, and quarterback Robert Haygood run for 101 more in a 33-19 Sun Bowl win over Kansas, but Walker also ran for 123 yards on just 11 carries in the same game.  On the season he ran for an impressive 903 yards, 8 touchdowns, and a 5.6 avg.

As a junior the Panthers won the National Championship over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl and Walker was Dorsett's fullback on the way to Dorsett's Heisman Trophy win.  Dorsett ran for over 2,000 yards on the season so Walker had little opportunity to carry the ball.  But as a senior, Walker took over for the graduated Dorsett and ran for 1,025 yards.  He also ran for 3 touchdowns in a 34-3 demolishing of Clemson in the Gator Bowl.

For his career, his 2,748 career rushing yards are still the 7th best in team history and his 5.7 career avg. is tops in Pitt history.


  1. Dokes...
    Correction... he played seasons of 74 to 77 based upon what you wrote..
    National championship was 76.

  2. Thanks. I don't know why I wrote that when I knew better. Too many late nights.

  3. And I still swear he got into the end zone on that 2 point conversion against PSU in 77.