Williams Making Strides in Spring Ball

NORMAN, Okla. — There are many points of spring football, but one of the main ones is to grow individually as a player.

It appears running back Danzel Williams has taken to that goal.

Williams, a 5-foot-8, 186-pound redshirt freshman who emerged as the No. 18 athlete out of Arlington (Texas) James Martin HS in 2011, has caught the eye of some of his teammates.

"Yeah, Danzel made a bunch of good plays today," said left guard/center Gabe Ikard recently after a practice. "You know, handing him some runs and catching the ball out of the backfield. I mean, he's very capable, a very talented guy, so excited about him."

Fellow running back Brennan Clay, echoed those sentiments.

"He's a good player," Clay said. "Man, he works hard every play."

For a guy that hasn't gotten on the field, too, it's not just about making plays on the field.

It's about taking everything in outside the chalk.

That, Williams has done.

"He's really attentive in the meeting rooms," Clay said. "He's always asking questions. [Running backs coach Cale] Gundy's taken him under his wing and he's treating him just like us."

No reason not to.

He's certainly a talented back, as evidenced by his nearly 1,700 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns as a senior in high school.

Now, it's just about battling to get in with the rest of the crowd.

"He's coming along...obviously, he missed all of fall ball," Gundy said. "So, you know, he's in the learning process. The good thing about Danzel is he's a good kid, he works hard, he's smart. He picks things up really well."

And most of all, as Clay said, he has a hunger for more knowledge of the game.

"Well, you know, again it's just like I told him, you may get 20 snaps today throughout the course of inside, team run or team pass scale," Gundy said. "But there's another 60 snaps that went on, so you should see every single signal. You should know the play, and you should be getting mental reps. You should be watching the guy who's out there, watching his reads, watching his footwork, his depth.

"So, you do those things, you get a chance to develop a little bit faster. If you're not paying attention and only getting 15 to 20 snaps, it's going to take awhile."

That, as evidenced by what's transpired so far this spring, does not appear to be the case.

Williams will join Clay, Roy Finch and Dominique Whaley as the four guys on the current roster battling for playing time.

JUCO transfer Damien Williams, along with incoming freshmen Alex Ross and David Smith, will join the trips this fall, making for seven scholarship backs heading into fall camp.

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