High Impact Player

After helping to get Penn State back on track, multipurpose threat Derrick Williams intends to go out with a bang.

Derrick Williams came to Penn State four years ago with big goals, goals befitting his stature as the nation’s top recruit. He’ll be playing his final regular-season game Saturday when the Nittany Lions play host to Michigan State, and while it’s clear that Penn State won’t win a national championship during his tenure on campus, Williams feels fulfilled.  

“Most definitely,” he said. “The thing is, when I was getting recruited, I had a chance to go pretty much anywhere I wanted to. But my main goal was to make a mark on a program, leave my legacy on a program and do some special things for a program to turn a program around. I think that I’ve helped out a lot as far as getting Penn State back to where it used to be. If we win this game on Saturday, that’s 40 wins in four years. There aren’t a lot of people in the country who can say that. So I definitely accomplished everything I wanted to do.”

Williams has been part of a remarkable turnaround at Penn State. Before his arrival, the Nittany Lions had suffered four losing seasons in five years. Since he first suited up for the team in 2005, they have amassed four winning seasons and three bowl victories and head into their regular-season finale against the Spartans with a chance to claim their second Big Ten title and second Bowl Championship Series berth in four years.  

Individually, Williams is on pace to have his fourth consecutive 40-catch season and ranks third in school history with 153 career receptions. He’s caught 36 passes for 400 yards as a senior and has scored two receiving touchdowns. His impact on special teams has been, if anything, even greater. He’s scored three touchdowns on kick returns (two kickoffs, one punt) and was named a Mid-Season All-America kick returner by SI.com and CBSSportsline.com.

Williams predicted during his weekly teleconference that his final game in Beaver Stadium probably wouldn’t stir any overwhelming feelings. Said Williams, “I’m not the type of guy to get too emotional.”  

He has one more business law class to finish before he gets his degree. Then it will be on to the NFL, where he is being touted as a potential first-round draft pick.  

But that’s a concern for another day. For the moment, Williams is focused entirely on Saturday’s matchup with Michigan State.  

“I definitely want to leave with a bang,” he said. “It can definitely be a good ending to the storybook, so there’s a lot on the line.”


Thinking of going bowling with the Nittany Lions this year? We are now accepting deposits on Rose Bowl packages.

Get the lowdown at this link:


Fight On State Top Stories