RB hopefuls aim for walk-on impact

THERE'S A RICH history of black and orange walk-ons who have become valuable contributors at OSU. And the Beavs this spring have a hole or two at running back with Jacquizz Rodgers to be limited following a season ending injury and the status of Jeremy Francis still up in the air. Sounds like a pretty good opportunity for a pair of running backs who plan on joining the Beavs for spring ball.

Christian Williams (5-10, 205), a hard charging running back during his prep days at Hayward High in California, says he'll be with the Beavers when they open spring drills later this month. And he says he won't be the only member of his family in Corvallis.

"My brother is walking on as well, Cory Williams. He's also a running back, he's 5-9 and a little heavier than me, about 217...he will be a junior," said Christian, who said he has three years of eligibility at OSU starting this spring.

You won't find either Williams' name on Oregon State's official roster, the school can't list them until they are enrolled and have cleared compliance and other red tape. But Williams says both he and his brother are on track academically and will be ready to go in Corvallis when drills begin.

"I'm just really looking forward to going into spring ball and doing my thing," said Williams.

WILLIAMS WAS PART of a tandem of backs at Hayward in 2006, along with Donell Gaines and Troy Evans, who gained a combined 3,463 ground yards and scored 43 touchdowns their senior season. After high school, however, he found his options were few.

"Out of high school, I wanted to go to Oregon State...my GPA and SAT scores didn't match up so I kind of took the first thing that I could which was Arkansas State University in the Sun Belt," said Williams.

After a redshirt season at Arkansas State, and not enamored with being so far from home, he convinced his brother, who was at a junior college in California, to join him in the Beaver State and start taking classes from Linn Benton CC. The plan was to then transfer and walk-on at OSU this spring.

"I said let's go to the junior college in Oregon, right next to OSU, we'll do that for a couple of terms and then we're going to roll out for spring ball. I sent coach Riley a couple emails every now and then just to let him know I'm still coming," said Williams.

WILLIAMS SAID HE has some moves coming out of the backfield but his biggest strength is found within the tough yards.

"I finish runs," said Williams. "If a guy is in front of me, I'm going to finish the work. I have some nice footwork as well, I'm not just a one sided back."

The spring term at Oregon State begins March 30, not coincidentally also the first day of spring drills for the Beavers.

"I'm looking forward to really just showing them -- I don't want to get into too much detail just talking about why I think I'm a top candidate or anything like that. I'm really into showing rather than talking...Coaches really don't want to hear what you can do, they want to see what you can do. And I'm going to go in and present to them what I can do... I have no doubts in my mind that I can go up there and compete," said Williams.

Among the walk-ons at Oregon State who have become difference makers in recent years, running back Matt Sieverson, fullback Andy Stewart, defensive end Slade Norris, safeties Greg Laybourn and Jake Cookus, receiver Mike Hass, quarterback Jonathan Smith, kickers Alexis Serna and Kirk Yliniemi and punters Mike Fessler and Carl Tobey.

Wade Dwyer contributed to this article.

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