DALLAS – With the uncertainty surrounding Arkansas sophomore tailback Korliss Marshall and his future with the Razorbacks, the addition of Dallas Bishop Lynch tailback Rawleigh Williams III seems even more important.
Williams (5-10, 210), a three-star prospect per Scout.com and one of 18 current Arkansas commitments in the 2015 recruiting class, just finished up a phenomenal senior season.
He rushed for 2,814 yards and 37 touchdowns this season, averaging 8.25 yards per carry while toting the ball a whopping 341 times in 13 games.
“I wish our season could've ended differently but I love those guys,” Williams said of his teammates. “They helped me break records and make memories that'll last forever.”
Williams’ 2014 campaign came to an end at 8-5 Saturday while he was rushing for 110 yards in a 41-12 loss to San Antonio Antonian.
Williams finished with school records for career rushing yard with over 4,700, rushing touchdowns (62), total touchdowns (71) and broke Ryan Moats previous single-season marks of 2,678 yards and 36 touchdowns.
His best effort his season was when he rushed 21 times for 401 yards while tying his own school record of six touchdowns in a game as Bishop Lynch downed John Paul II 52-34 on Oct. 10.
All that has earned him invites the Offense-Defense Senior All-American Bowl Jan. 4th in Orlando, Fla., and the ultimate respect his head coach Ben Dasch.
“He is probably one of the top two players to ever come through our school,” Dasch said Tuesday. “He owns almost every single record we have offensively.
“But as great a football player as he is, he is 10 times that as a person,” Dasch added. “He is a great student, a great kid.”
Dasch noted it’s an off-the-field aspect that comes to mind first.
“I say all the time that my favorite thing about him is that when I go home on the weekends, I never think about him,” Dasch continued. “He never crosses my mind. I never wonder who where he is, I never wonder how who he is with - I literally never think about the kid on the weekend because that is how good of a kid that he is.
“We are so blessed to have been a part of his career,” Dasch added. “It has been incredible. He is just that special.”
He was certainly durable as evidenced by the 341 carries on the season.
“I think he is an absolutely incredible durable player,” Dasch said. “He got a pretty negative knock early in his career because he got hurt early in camp. The more I thought about it that was our shortcoming as a coaching staff on how to deal with a kid that were going to give that many carries.
“This year we reduced his contact in practice and just made a commitment that we were going to manage him during practice,” Dasch added.
“In the opener he had 204 yards on just nine carries with four touchdowns,” Dasch continued. “That’s all it took to win that game. But in week three we had to give him the ball 40 straight times He is just going to produce however many times you put it in his hands.”
Dasch notes that Williams is a combination of power and speed.
“He has every gear you want,” Dasch said. “I don’t know how many gears you need as an SEC running back, but he has them all. I can’t tell you how impressed I was watching him develop his breakaway speed, which he always had, but some reason he finally figured out how to use it the last few years.
“He has become such a good running back instead of just a good football player,” Dasch added. “I think he deserves a lot of credit for figuring his own position out.”
He should be a perfect fit for Arkansas’ offense per his head coach.
“I think he is built for SEC football,” Dasch said. “I think he is sturdy enough, he is thick enough, his lower half is so strong. If you need to put him at the top of the I and mash him you can.
“If you need to use him on third down to spread the field, you can,” Dasch added. “He is a great zone runner, he is a great power runner. He can do anything you want because he is that rare combination of speed and power.
“I am looking forward to watching him play in college,” Dasch continued. “I think he is going to be an amazing player at Arkansas.”
Arkansas (6-5, 2-5) has won two straight games – a 17-0 blanking of No. 17 LSU and a 30-0 rout of Ole Miss last Saturday night – after enduring a 17-game SEC losing streak.
Ironically, Williams was committed to Ole Miss before flipping to Arkansas and head coach Bret Bielema this past summer.
“Huge win versus Ole Miss,” Williams said. “Hard work is starting to pay of for those guys an I can't wait to be apart of it. Coach B is building something special.”
Williams is looking forward to being in a backfield with current Razorback workhorse tailbacks Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins.
“Definitely,” Williams said. “I've talked to J Will a lot since committing and he has nothing but great things to say about that team and coaching staff. I can't wait to be apart of it.”
Dasch said you can tell Williams is all in with Arkansas and recently got a visit from Razorback running backs coach Joel Thomas and Bielema.
“This is a kid who will be head to toe in Bishop Lynch gear, but will also always have one thing of Arkansas’ on,” Dasch said. “He has already bought in to everything they are doing and I know he talks very highly of Coach Thomas and Coach Bielema.
“He has certainly enjoyed the last couple of weeks, especially last week with the way they whipped Ole Miss,” Dasch added. “He is all Razorback.”
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