FootballScoop is proud to announce that William Peagler (Michigan State) is the 2021 FootballScoop Running Backs Coach of the Year, presented by AstroTurf as selected by prior winners.
William Peagler had one year to work with Kenneth Walker III. And in that year he turned Walker from a good player to the best at his position in college football.
Walker ran for exactly 579 yards in both of his seasons at Wake Forest, averaging an impressive 5.91 yards per carry in 2019 and scoring 13 touchdowns in 2020.
In 2021, Walker put it all together.
He piled up 1,636 yards across 12 games, a 136.3 average that ranked second in the nation. Only Central Michigan's Lew Nichols III posted more yards than Walker, and he needed 76 more carries to do so. Needing only 263 carries to post his 1,636 yards, Walker's 6.22 yards per carry average were the most for any player with at least 210 totes this season.
Walker also displayed a nose for the end zone, placing eighth nationally with 18 touchdowns.
Walker topped the 100-yard mark in eight games, including an opener in which he chugged for 264 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries in a 38-21 win over Northwestern. In a battle with the nation's leading passer, Bailey Zappe, Walker charged the Spartans to a 48-31 win over Western Kentucky with a 126-yard, 3-touchdown effort. The following week, Walker rushed for 233 yards on 8.03 per carry.
In the Spartans' thrilling win over No. 6 Michigan, Walker raced up the Heisman Trophy charts by compiling 23 carries for 197 yards and five touchdowns, the most by any Spartan against the Wolverines.
A unanimous All-American and the Doak Walker Award winner, Walker with a sixth-place Heisman Trophy finish was the highest by any Spartan since Tony Mandarich in 1988.
In addition to Walker, backups Jordon Simmons, Elijah Collins, Harold Joiner, and Donovan Eaglin combined for 456 yards on the season.
A Clemson graduate, Peagler had his first job come as the tight ends coach at NCAA Division II power Valdosta State in 2010. His career path included a stay in the Kansas junior college ranks, Mississippi high school ball, and numerous off-the-field roles until Mel Tucker, with whom Peagler had worked at Georgia and Colorado, named him the running backs coach at Michigan State in 2020.
The 35-year-old Peagler has since taken the tight ends job at Florida.
The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards presented by AstroTurf are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists (Tony Alford [Ohio State], Charles Huff [Alabama], Bruce Johnson [Liberty], Isaac Reed [Buffalo], and Gillespie) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year's winner.
Previous winners of the Running Backs Coach of the Year award are Burton Burns (Alabama, 2008), Willie Taggart (Stanford, 2009), Jim Mastro (Nevada, 2010), Frank Wilson (LSU, 2011), Calvin Magee (Arizona, 2012), Jeff Lebby (Baylor, 2013), Bryan McClendon (Georgia, 2014), Lance Taylor (Stanford, 2015), Jeff Horton (San Diego State, 2016), Tony Elliott (Clemson, 2017), Tim Albin (Ohio, 2018), Jabbar Juluke (Louisiana, 2019), and Robert Gillespie (North Carolina, 2020).
2nd Nationally - Rushing
1st Nationally - Yards Per Carry (min. 210 attempts)
8th Nationally - Rushing TDs
Doak Walker Award winner
Since 1965, the AstroTurf brand has been driven by forward thinking ingenuity. Today AstroTurf continuously improves its system design to deliver playing surfaces with the most realistic, sport-specific performance, longest lasting durability, and sound player protection. For more information please visit AstroTurf.com.
Created in 1999, FootballScoop.com is the premier source for coaching job information and has long been the most widely viewed website by coaches, athletic directors, strength & conditioning coaches, operations and equipment staff across America. As the leading coaching job information venue, FootballScoop.com serves our viewers’ needs by providing first hand, timely & accurate information for our audience. FootballScoop.com is the premier provider of official job postings for thousands of football programs across this great country.