During his college career at Oklahoma State University, Williams scored nine touchdowns on defense and special teams. Five of Williams touchdowns came on interception returns, one was on a blocked extra point. The remaining three touchdowns Williams scored were on punt returns. Returning punts is one of the duties Williams will perform this year for the Broncos. Williams is confident supremely confident.
"Every time I get my hands on the ball, I'm sure I'll score a touchdown," he said.
Williams may be right about scoring a touchdown every time he touches the ball. He has that potential because he has explosive speed, the ability to make cutbacks and find open holes. There have been a lot of comparisons of Williams to another feared punt returner in the NFL, Kansas City's Dante Hall. Williams will soon be the guy opposing teams try to kick away from because of his explosiveness.
While Williams is one of the fastest players on the field, he is certainly not one of the biggest (5-8 and 188 pounds). However, don't let Williams size fool you, in addition to returning punts, he also had a stellar career as a cornerback at Oklahoma State University. He holds the Big 12 record for most interceptions returned for touchdowns (5) and is only one of four college players since 1996 to have recorded double digit career interceptions (11).
As a junior, Williams was first- team all Big 12 during a year in which he started 11 games and recorded a career high 66 tackles. Williams feels his strengths at cornerback lie with his overall quickness and his ability to break on balls and read routes. Williams hopes his NFL career will help people see him "as a small guy who wasn't scared to go in there, in the trenches and with the big guys."
So this season try not to blink, if you do, you might miss Darrent Williams running at the speed of light towards the end zone.
Additional contributions from Dianne Harrison and Brian Tippet
Glancing at the sky around 2:50 pm, it looked obvious that the special teams practice slated for the afternoon would take place in the Dome, (the Bronco's off site practice field for inclement weather).
Players, staff, coaches and media hustled over to the Dome which is conveniently located only a mile or so away from the Bronco's facility at Dove Valley. Humid and a bit crowded in the end zone, we watched a series of drills performed with the precision of a well tuned machine.
Snaps were taken, kicker Todd Sauderbrun going through the motions of a kick, while place kicker Jason Elam threw long pass after pass down the field to the anxious receiver's itching for a spot on the special teams roster. Elam's arm is strong and accurate and several reporters commented he would make an excellent back-up quarterback.
Several of the Broncos Update stories for today, (on Bradlee Van Pelt and Darrent Williams) were good choices and this was reinforced during the afternoon practice. Williams is so quick that during most of the drills he was a good five feet ahead of everyone else.
What jumps out about Van Pelt is his sheer athleticism. He just outmaneuvers his opponents. He's quick, cuts like a pro and muscles his way past defenders when he needs to.
Williams is pure delight! It's impossible to describe his speed and quickness, you simply have to see it. He will bring excitement and anticipation to the kick-off return, and no one with any sense, will be off their couch in search of a snack or out of their seat waiting in line for a beer when this guy "does his thing".
He simply must be seen to be believed. We're all looking forward to the first scrimmage and preseason games, just to see how he performs when the heat is on. Van Pelt gets better and better and with additional "NFL seasoning" could end up being the next pleasant surprise.
- Diane Harrison Miller
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