Former Michigan State star Walt Kowalczyk dies at age 83

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Walt Kowalczyk, a star halfback at Michigan State who finished third in the 1957 Heisman Trophy race, has died. He was 83.

Michigan State says Kowalczyk died Wednesday.

Nicknamed “The Sprinting Blacksmith,” Kowalczyk helped the Spartans to top-three finishes in the AP poll for the 1955 and 1957 seasons. He was named MVP of the 1956 Rose Bowl.

Kowalczyk led the Spartans in rushing during the 1957 season and scored nine rushing touchdowns. He also ranked second in all-purpose yards. John David Crow of Texas A&M topped the Heisman vote that season, followed by Alex Karras and Kowalczyk.

Kowalczyk was drafted in the first round by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1958. He spent three seasons in the NFL, two with Philadelphia and one with Dallas, and finished his career in the AFL with Oakland in 1961.


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