ESPN is set to debut their “Storied” documentary series “highlighting the traditions, rivalries and unique stories of the Southeastern Conference.” The series debuts on Wednesday, September 7 at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPNU with the episode “Herschel” about former UGA running back Herschel Walker.
Produced in conjunction with NASCAR Media Group, Herschel explores how Herschel Walker’s career in the SEC was legendary, but his journey off the field was filled with struggle, pain, and ultimately, redemption. Growing up in rural Georgia, Walker was relentlessly bullied for being overweight and having a severe stutter. He turned those taunts into motivation, transforming himself into a superior athlete. Unable to afford weight training equipment, Walker self-trained by doing 5,000 pushups and sit-ups every day after school, racing oncoming locomotive trains and running barefoot in 100-degree heat while pulling a 50-pound tire.
He would become a star running back in high school and shatter state records. At Georgia, Walker led the school to its only undisputed national championship, was a three-time All-American and winner of the 1982 Heisman Trophy. He is considered one of the SEC’s and college football’s greatest players ever. But despite those accomplishments, Walker endured mental anguish for years over the unresolved childhood traumas. Eventually he was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder and underwent intensive psychotherapy to heal.
The film includes interviews with Walker’s family, former Georgia coaches Vince Dooley and Mike Cavan, and teammates Frank Ros and Joe Happe, as well as his high school coach, his psychotherapist, former Dallas Morning News writer Skip Bayless and former USFL New Jersey Generals owner Donald Trump.
Walker on being bullied: “I used to pay kids money to talk to me or to be nice to me….There are so many kids out there that are suffering and hurting, that if I can speak out about it and touch someone’s soul, that makes me feel better than winning the Heisman trophy.”
Dooley: “I think Herschel is the greatest that’s ever been.”
Happe: “The impact Herschel has had on the SEC is unprecedented. His legacy will never die.”
Trump: “Herschel is a high quality human being. Football is the least of it. He is just somebody special.”