Detroit Lions Top 50: #9-5 with VIDEO

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Doak Walker, RB, 1950-1955

Anytime a player gets an award named after them, they’re doing something right. Such is the case with Doak Walker, for whom the award for best running back in college football is named.

Walker was selected third overall in the 1949 NFL Draft in December 1948 by the Boston Yanks. The Detroit Lions acquired his draft rights in January 1950, where he was once again played with former high school teammate Bobby Layne.

Although Walker was only 5 ft 11 in and 175 lbs, he was voted All-Pro four times, and he helped lead the Lions to consecutive NFL championships in 1952 and 1953.

Walker also led the NFL in scoring twice (1950 and 1955) and tallied 534 points in his career (330 on field goals and extra points). In honor of his achievements, the Lions retired his number 37.

He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, inducted in 1986.

According to the Detroit Lions’ official website, when asked by the Detroit News’ Jerry Green about why he walked away from the game at age 29, he responded:

"“I’d been on three division champions, two world champions, I’d been to five Pro Bowls, I’d been All-Pro four times. What else was there to do?”"

Award-winning Sports Illustrated writer Rick Reilly said of Walker shortly before his death:

"“He’s Doak Walker, and he was as golden as golden gets. He had perfectly even, white teeth and a jaw as square as a deck of cards and a mop of brown hair that made girls bite their necklaces. He was so shifty you couldn’t have tackled him in a phone booth, yet so humble that he wrote the Associated Press a thank-you note for naming him an All-American. Come to think of it, he was a three-time All-American, twice one of the Outstanding Players in the Cotton Bowl, a four-time All-Pro. He appeared on 47 covers, including Life, Look and Collier’s. One time, Kyle Rote, another gridiron golden boy, saw a guy buying a football magazine at a newsstand. ‘Don’t buy that one,’ Rote said. ‘It’s not official. It doesn’t have a picture of Doak Walker on the cover.'”"