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Kenny Walker

Named Defensive Player Of The Year

Playing a defensive end for Nebraska's Cornhuskers, Walker gained a reputation as one of the fastest linesman in the state. "He's pretty much unstoppable," teammate Brian Boerboom told Ken Hambleton of the Sporting News. "He's so quick and so strong, it's hard to get in his way. You can be doing a good job on him and not look very good when the play is over." The press marveled at the way Walker's deafness did not hold him back as a player. However, there were limitations to what positions he could play. Although his speed and relatively small size made suited him to play inside linebacker, his inability to pick up changes in defense made the position inappropriate for him. Instead he played defensive tackle—a position usually reserved for the biggest, heaviest players on the team.

Nicknamed "Mumbles" for his reticence during meetings, Walker gained confidence as he adjusted to the world of college football. As a player, he stole the hearts of Cornhuskers fans. When he ran onto the field for his final game at Nebraska, a crowd of some 76,000 raised their hands and wiggled their fingers in the international sign for applause. He responded with "I love you" in sign language. An All-American player, Walker was named Big Eight Conference defensive player of the year in 1990.

As the first deaf student to attend the university, Walker was initially shy about speaking and using sign language in public. But as he adjusted to campus life he became more comfortable in public and more involved in campus activities. Walker, who draws children's cartoons in his spare time, majored in art and held a 3.1 grade point average. When he was not studying or playing football, he indulged in one of his favorite pastimes, catfishing, and often volunteered working with deaf children in the Lincoln, Nebraska, area.

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Famous Sports StarsFootballKenny Walker Biography - Chronology, Named Defensive Player Of The Year, Joined Denver Broncos, Awards And Accomplishments, Career Statistics