Summer Top 50 - No. 16 Darrel Williams

The other sophomore running back on LSU's team comes in at No. 16 on TSD's top 50 countdown after providing a few surprises in his rookie run with the Tigers.

Because everyone loves to rank things, and because summer is the best time to argue and debate, TSD is spending the coming weeks through the end of July rolling out its top 50 LSU football players for the coming season.

Many are seasoned veterans and a select few are new to the roster, but all 50 Tigers figure to make an impact on the gridiron in 2015.

So we hope you enjoy this list, updated once each weekday and compiled by the TSD staff of Ben Love and Hunter Paniagua (who, naturally, had disagreements of their own along the way).

Today the countdown wraps up another week with a physical, talented back at No. 16, sophomore Darrel Williams.

REASON FOR OPTIMISM


Williams is among the most slept-on LSU players heading into the 2015 season. We all know the reason why - his name is Leonard Fournette, but Williams, a John Ehret product, served notice last fall that he's a force to be reckoned with in the Tigers' backfield.

A physical bowling ball of a back at 6-foot, 230 pounds, Williams produced at both fullback and tailback in 2014. He totaled 302 yards and three touchdowns on 62 carries, more often than not churning out first downs and helping in short-distance situations, as evidenced by the fact his long carry was 22 yards. Williams also proved to be a capable pass-catcher, hauling in six passes for 63 yards, a number of which came while playing fullback.

The other thing aiding Williams' cause is that position coach Frank Wilson likes to ride three or four backs over the course of a season, and there are only four scholarship tailbacks on campus, two of whom are freshmen in Derrius Guice and Nicholas Brossette. At least heading into Fall Camp in August, Williams figures to be second in the pecking order.

STILL LEFT TO PROVE


In many ways Williams showed his versatility last season, but he'll have to prove himself anew with two new backs in the fold, particularly Guice, who represents a different type of back than either Williams or Fournette. It is possible that when Wilson is looking for a change-of-pace option to Fournette that Guice is more elusive and more of a home-run hitter with the ball in his hands than Williams is.

So there's the competition, as there always is in LSU's running back stable. And even if Williams is plugged into the Kenny Hilliard role from the past few falls, that wouldn't guarantee him a large sum of carries. Hilliard tended to get lost in the game plan some weeks, so it's fair to wonder if Williams may occasionally succumb to that fate.

Finally, Williams' season in 2015 is largely tied to Fournette's. If the latter remains injury-free and Wilson decides to ride him more than he usually has his lead backs, it would come at the expense of the rest of the rushers, including Williams. The more award watch lists Fournette stays on come October and November, the more Williams & Co. could be hugging the sideline.





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