Williams Looking Forward to Statue Unveiling

When Ricky Williams stands in the southwest corner of Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium for his statue dedication Sunday, it won't be the first time he's seen the statue. Nor will it be the last.

"I'm going to walk by it every day," Williams said, laughing.

Williams will have that opportunity as he plans to head back to Texas and graduate with a degree in education.

"It's funny being a student walking past my statue," Williams said. "What I want to do with school? I want to get a T-ring — one of the things I wanted to do a long time ago."

A lot has happened since Williams last took campus by storm, at that point on the football field. A true iconoclast, Williams said that he didn't have a favorite memory, and that his favorite moment of his time in Austin was probably something that most people wouldn't understand. Ask him, for instance, about his memories of setting the NCAA record for career rushing yards.

"After I broke the record, the next play on offense I fumbled. That's what I remember," Williams said. "Everything else is really a blur pretty much. It was so magical, it was hard to grasp the energy. When I came back to the sidelines, Coach [Brown] grabbed my helmet and said, 'Come on, I know you broke the record, but you gotta hold on to the ball.'"

Brown did that well over his tenure at Texas.

"I look back at each year and each year it's a different story. So my freshman year I was just trying to make a name for myself," Williams said. "Actually it's the same story. And my sophomore year I was trying to make a name for myself. My junior year I was just trying to make a name for myself. And my senior year, it's the same story. But the platform kept growing.

"I had a chance to talk with some of the running backs yesterday, with Coach Applewhite," Williams said. "One of the things I wanted to get across to them, one of the great things about being at this university, you have so much support and the expectations are so high that you have all the possibility in the world to reach your full potential. And there's not going to be anyone around here that's going to hold you back. If anything, if you want it, if you want to be the best, go ahead and take it. And I think Earl proved it, I proved it, Vince proved it, Colt proved it. I look at the statue as a symbol for everyone who comes to the university to say -- I want them to look at that and say I want mine to be right next to Ricky's and right next to Earl's."

Williams said he was impressed with the running back group.

"I was fortunate. I got to sit through the meeting, got to see the whole practice from a player/coach perspective and I liked what I saw," Williams said. "I like that they're all quick. They all have nice size. They're all very explosive. From what I hear there's more coming. It's going to be a fun time for running backs this season."

So could Williams decide to throw his hat into the ring as a coach?

"I thought so until I sat in the room with Major yesterday," Williams said. "And it crosses my mind, but nothing that I see happening. But anything can change. I love the game and I love being around the guys, and so definitely a possibility."

Williams's love for the game was questioned at times during his NFL career, but Williams said he had no regrets.

"Well, I think regrets are when you have a goal and your goal is not reached," Williams said. "When I got to the NFL, I didn't really have any goals. And when I came out, after 11 seasons, I realized even more so that I'm a special person, unique person, and I have the ability to make change in the world. And I'll take that. And I don't think I would have been able to have this platform if I hadn't had the kind of career that I had."

His college career was outstanding, culminating with a Heisman Trophy, and now an even bigger statue in his likeness, dreads and all.

"It still hasn't hit me yet," Williams said. "I got a chance last summer to go up and see the statue as it was being finished. And it was cool. It was cool to be a part of it. But to actually see it in the ground - it was clay when I saw it - actually didn't see it in the ground, in its finished form. It's going to be neat. I'm looking forward to it."

Getting Williams back for his senior year has been called by Texas coach Mack Brown the biggest recruiting job he ever did, and it helped to kick-start the highly successful Brown era on the 40 Acres.

"I would say I was a part of it. I definitely was a part of it," Williams said of the recent success of the Longhorn program. "And that was one of my goals when I came to the university was to be part of a transformation of a change, and I had fun. I had fun doing it. And it's even more fun now to watch how big this has all become. I look forward to the future and more."

Williams created that opportunity by sticking around for a final year, but he said he wouldn't necessarily encourage underclassmen to do the same.

"It was the right thing for me to stay here," Williams said. "That's not going to be the same story for everyone. I would say try not to listen to what anyone says, go to a quiet place and figure out what you want for your life and make the choice that suits you best. For me when I was 12 years old, I was home watching Notre Dame football on television, and I decided that I wanted to be a college football player. It wasn't [that ] I wanted to be a professional football player; I wanted to be a college football player.

"The thing I say a lot, if you want to be an actress or actor, you go to Hollywood," Williams said. "If you want to shop, you go to Paris or New York. If you want to play college football, you come to Austin, Texas. So I came here for the college football experience. And I got that and a million times more. It was really special my time here."

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