Williams Takes "Hands On" Approach To Pro Day

Running back Carnell Williams talks about answering critics who have questions about his size and his hands as an NFL back.

Auburn, Ala.–-Carnell Williams' odyssey as an Auburn Tiger came to a close Monday afternoon following a four-year journey that began just over four years ago when he chose the Tigers over Alabama and Tennessee in a press conference at Etowah High.

One of the greatest players in Auburn history, Williams is moving on to the National Football League and is expected to be a first round selection in the NFL Draft coming on April 23 and 24. When he does he'll leave behind memories that won't soon be forgotten and numbers that will be tough to surpass for the next great Tiger back.

Williams catches a pass from Jason Campbell during Pro Day on the Auburn campus.

Williams ranks first in touchdowns scored in Auburn history with 46 in four seasons, one ahead of Bo Jackson. He is second all-time in rushing yards with 3,831 and first in attempts with 741. He also is second in 100-yard games and his six touchdowns against Mississippi State as a junior are a school record. Those are just some of the numbers left behind by Williams, but it's not what he'll remember the most.

What he'll miss the most is his teammates like quarterback Jason Campbell, running back Ronnie Brown and roommate Carlos Rogers. The four have formed a strong bond since they've been at Auburn and now they're ready to take it to the NFL, but the pro day was one more chance to all be together on the football field. Williams says he knew Campbell needed some receivers and that's one of the reasons he worked out so his friend could have someone to throw to in his workout.

"I told Jason, we've been working out for the past two weeks together, that I was going to line up at receiver to help him," Williams says. "The younger guys couldn't work out so we wanted to line up at receiver and help him out. Jason has come so far. I'm very happy for him."

While it was one of the reasons, it wasn't the only reason for Williams to be on the field. All season long and since Auburn's victory over Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl, some draft analysts have questioned his hands and his size. Despite the fact that he rarely dropped a ball or was rarely tackled by the first or even the second defender, those thoughts were still out there. Williams says that Monday was just another day for him to try to dispel some rumors about him.

The Cadillac, who weighed in at a stout 216 pounds, caught passes for nearly a half hour from Campbell and didn't have a single drop.

"I know that was a big knock on me as far as my hands, but deep down in my heart I didn't feel like I had any trouble with my hands," Williams says. "I had a few drops here or there and folks kind of judged me about my hands and size, so I made it my goal to put on weight and also catch every ball thrown to me.

"I didn't feel like I had to (work out on pro dday), but I wanted to," Williams adds. "Every opportunity I had to show the scouts my catching and my cutting ability, I couldn't pass up the opportunity. I didn't feel like I had to, but it's something that I wanted to do."

Williams now waits on the next chapter of his life to begin on April 23 when his name is called in New York at the draft. Until then he said he'll spend as much time as possible with his friends in Auburn and his family. Soon to be playing on the next level, Williams says he's just glad to be a part of a group that is ready to make some noise out in the world.

"I'm just so excited," Williams says. "Not only for me, but for my teammates. It's quite an honor to possibly have four guys in the first round. I don't think teams have put up numbers like that since Miami (Fla.) and Ohio State, teams like that. It will be an honor to play on the next level."


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