DAVID "D.J." WILLIAMS
University of Arkansas Razorbacks
Little Rock, Arkansas
Central Arkansas Christian High School
Regarded as one of the elite pass catchers at his position in the collegiate ranks, Williams' remarkable progress on the gridiron saw him capture the john Mackey Award, given to the nation's top tight end, during his final season with the Razorbacks. The first player in Arkansas annals to receive that prestigious honor, Williams might never have stepped on to the football field if it was not for coach Tim Perry during the youngster's days at Central Arkansas Christian High School.
A deeply religious athlete, Williams attended that school, where his initial athletic interest was basketball. A member of the Churches of Christ, Williams could have cited many accolades, but he chose this statement alone to appear with his picture in the school's yearbook: "Baptized into Christ." He has cited the Passion of the Christ as exemplifying the way he and his mother, Vicky Williams, and his two sisters overcame his abusive father and other challenges, including on the football field.
His childhood plight gained national attention during ESPN's broadcast of the 2011 Sugar Bowl. With 58 seconds remaining in the third quarter, ESPN-HD announcer Holly Rowe described how, on a night after Vicky Williams' husband beat her, Vicky spread a map on the table in front of her children, and little D.J. pointed to Little Rock, Arkansas, as the place to which they should move to get away from his father.
The Christian Chronicle article cites that within 24 hours, D.J.'s alcohol-plagued father had been arrested for an unrelated crime. In 2011, Williams' father remains incarcerated for murder, and the son has had no conversation with him in many years. D.J. says: "I pray every day to be able to forgive him."
In a recent story on ESPN, Williams stated that he doesn't remember how old he was the first time he saw his father hit his mother. Unfortunately, he remembers just about everything else. He remembers the guns. He remembers wondering if the beatings were ever going to stop. He remembers that unforgettable look in his father's eyes, the look of someone struggling with depression and hooked on crack cocaine. He remembers being a little boy thrust into a world of spousal abuse that turned his Carrollton, Texas, home into a hellish prison.
But most of all, Williams remembers being scared. Scared for himself, scared for his two older sisters, scared that his mother might not survive the next beating. "There were times that I just sat down and watched," said Williams. "That hurt the worst. I was so small. There was nothing I could do. I felt so helpless. "It was the worst situation you could ever imagine. It's still hard to look back on." Williams does, though.
One of the best pass-catching tight ends in the college game, he's just started in the last year to open up and tell his family's incredible story. "There were so many times when you'd see all these kids playing with their dad and how fun it looked. But most of the time, I was just scared of mine."
While tragic, it's a story that offers hope for others in a similar crisis. And if Williams can help just one family, then it's all worth it. "When things get tough for me, whether it's on the football field or anywhere else, I just think about what my mom's gone through and the great things football has brought me," Williams said. "Hopefully, I'll be able to give back to her and give back to others. I want moms and kids out there who are going through what we went through to know that there is a way out. Look at us. We've come from living in a shelter and wearing hand-me-down clothes to me standing in front of 80,000-plus almost every Saturday just to watch me play football. Even when you think all hope is lost, dreams do come true."
Similar to her son, Vicky Williams looks back and counts her blessings that nobody was killed. Her former husband, David Edward Williams, is serving concurrent sentences of 25 and 27 years at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas, for separate convictions of attempted murder for shooting an individual and aggravated assault on a public servant while trying to be apprehended by police.
A police record obtained by ESPN.com showed David Williams was arrested for a family offense in November 1992 when the couple lived in Aurora, Colorado. He's eligible for parole in 2013, and both of D.J.'s sisters, Valerie Simmons and Vanessa Williams, still correspond with him.
"When he's sober, he's the best person in the world," said Valerie, who was 18 when the rest of the family fled their home in the Dallas suburbs a decade ago. "I can see how my mother fell in love with him. When he wasn't drinking and wasn't using drugs, he was a great dad."
Vicky Williams and her children left everything behind, save for a couple of suitcases full of clothes, and fled to a shelter for battered women in Dallas. Officials there thought it was too dangerous and advised them to get out of state. Vicky turned to D.J. and told him to pick a place. His finger landed on Little Rock. "I cried most of the way there," Vicky recalled. "It was so emotional, but I knew there was no turning back."
As they tried to locate the shelter in Little Rock, Vicky said, she took a wrong turn and happened upon Immanuel Baptist Church. She's still not sure why she stopped, but she did. Vicky was befriended by D.G. New, when the Williams family came to Arkansas.
It was the start of a lifelong friendship with New, who was on staff at the church and would go on to become the family's guardian angel. She helped Vicky get a job, the same job she still has. She helped them find a house, and she helped guide Vicky in her quest to put her family's life back together.
Dale Zanine/US Presswire
They slept in the shelter for months before finding a house they could afford to rent. It's the same shelter (Women & Children First) that Vicky still volunteers at to tell her story and help abused women. For the longest time, Vicky said, she was petrified that her ex-husband would come after her once he's released from prison. Valerie has told her that he's found Christ in prison and has changed, but the thought of him possibly being free in four years is still unnerving for Vicky.
Vicky's way of dealing with it is diving even deeper into her passion of helping other battered women. "She's such a brave woman," D.J. said. "It's amazing what she's done, moving to a strange place with no money and two kids to care for. She had to watch us go through Christmases without opening up any gifts. But she never gave up and was always there for us. She's there now for other women who've been abused. Everything is going to come back to her. I can promise you that."
It was at Central Arkansas Christian High School where he sought solace, and where football coach Tim Perry was able to convince the school's budding basketball star to put on a football uniform. After seeing reserve action as a freshman, he would go on to star as a receiver, defensive end and linebacker during his final three prep seasons.
Williams would close out his career as an Associated Press Arkansas Super Team and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All-Arkansas squad choice as a linebacker. He was rated the ninth-best tight end in the country and the fourth-best overall prospect in the state of Arkansas by Rivals.com, a recruiting service that awarded him with a four-star prospect rating.
On the HawgSports.com "Natural 21" list, Williams ranked third. Scout.com listed him as a four-star prospect, the 14th-best tight end in the country and the fourth-best overall player in the state. Hawgs Illustrated also ranked him fourth among Arkansas prepsters.
During his sophomore season, Williams led the Mustangs to the state title, as the Class 4A All-Region VII defensive lineman recorded 80 tackles that included seven sacks, eight more stops behind the line of scrimmage and a fumble recovery. The following season, he enjoyed success on both sides of the ball. He caught 51 passes for 688 yards and eight touchdowns, adding 19 carries for 82 yards while registering 132 tackles.
Injuries limited Williams to eight games during his senior year, as the team finished second in their league with a 9-4 record, losing all four times without their star performer.
He still managed to record 103 tackles (69 solos), eight sacks and two forced fumbles. A slew of major colleges "came calling," but the talented youngster signed with Arkansas after also considering Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, Mississippi and Mississippi State.
Williams helped produce some of the most productive passing offenses in Arkansas history during his four years at the university. While playing as a reserve in his first season, the Razorbacks' passing game ranked a lowly 112th nationally, managing just 163.46 yards per game through the air.
However, Williams took over the starting job the following season and led the team in receiving. Arkansas gained 259.58 passing yards per game and placed 23rd in the country. In 2009, the Razorbacks produced the nation's 10th ranked passing offense (295.54 ypg), but the team saw its most success during Williams' senior season. The tight end led the team in receiving for the second time in his career while Arkansas boasted the NCAA's fourth-ranked aerial attack, averaging an impressive 338.42 passing yards per game.
Williams earned two starting assignments during 2007's 13-game schedule, as the true freshman managed five receptions for 94 yards (18.80 ypc). His efforts garnered him first-team Southeastern Conference All-Freshman accolades, but bigger honors were on the horizon, thanks to the team's coaching change.
Entering the 2008 season, Arkansas parted ways with head coach Houston Nutt and replaced him with Bobby Petrino, who installed a pass-heavy offense for the Razorbacks. With former starting tight end Andrew Davie opting to forgo his final season of eligibility to enter the NFL draft, Williams assumed the role of starting tight end and flourished in the new system.
Williams played in all twelve games, earning eight starts in 2008, and enjoyed a breakout campaign. He led the Razorbacks with 61 receptions for 723 yards (11.85 ypc) and three touchdowns. He ranked second and seventh in the SEC with per game averages of 5.08 receptions and 60.25 yards receiving, respectively. He became the first John Mackey Award semifinalist in school history. He was named All-SEC first-team by the conference media, as well as a second-team choice by the league's head coaches. He was selected the team's Most Valuable Player by the Little Rock Touchdown Club.
Entering his junior season, Williams was named to preseason Watch Lists for the Rotary Lombardi (Top Lineman) and John Mackey Awards. However, Ryan Mallett took over as the starting quarterback and the strong-armed passer preferred the deep ball to Williams' shorter routes. The tight end's production dipped, as he placed third on the team with 32 receptions for 411 yards (12.84 ypc) and three touchdowns. He started nine of thirteen games, earning All-SEC second-team recognition.
Williams strongly considered leaving school early to enter the 2010 NFL Draft, but after discussing the issue with his mother, he opted to return to school and earn his degree. He bounced back as a senior and delivered another outstanding season. He started all thirteen games and led the Razorbacks for the second time in his career with 54 catches for 627 yards (11.61 ypc) and four touchdowns. His performance helped Arkansas to its first BCS bowl bid in school history with an appearance in the Sugar Bowl vs. Ohio State.
Williams was honored as the nation's top tight end and the most inspirational figure in college football as the recipient of the John Mackey and Disney Spirit Awards. He was a first-team All-SEC selection for the second time in his career, and added first-team All-American accolades from The NFL Draft Report, in addition to receiving third-team recognition from the Associated Press.
National Football League scouts realize that Williams isn't your classic inline tight end due to his lack of size and will be better suited in an H-back role at the next level. But, he possesses very reliable hands and enough speed and balance to gain separation as a route runner. Once the ball is in his hands, the heart and determination of this athlete is evident, as he simply runs hard through tackles and fights for extra yardage.
Williams started 32-of-51 games at Arkansas, catching 152 passes for 1,855 yards (12.20 ypc) and ten touchdowns, averaging 2.98 receptions and 36.37 yards receiving per game… Added three solo tackles…His 152 receptions catches are an Arkansas record by a non-wide receiver and rank second on the school's career list behind Anthony Eubanks (153; 1994-97)…Also ranks eighth in Arkansas annals with 1,855 yards receiving, while his ten touchdown receptions are 11th-most in school history…His 61 receptions in 2008 are a school season-record for a tight end and are topped only by J.J. Meadors (62; 1995) among all receivers on the team's annual record chart…His 54 receptions in 2010 place fourth on that list…Caught ten passes vs. Mississippi in 2008, setting a school game-record for a tight end while ranking as the fifth-highest overall game total in Razorbacks history.
2010 seasonAll-American first-team selection by The NFL Draft Report, adding third-team honors from the Associated Press…All-Southeastern Conference first-team choice by the league's coaches…Recipient of the John Mackey Award as the nation's top tight end, becoming the first player in school history to capture that honor…Recipient of the Disney Spirit Award, given to the most inspirational figure in college football…Named to the conference's Football Community Service Team…The team captain started all 13 games, leading the Razorbacks with 54 receptions for 627 yards (11.61 ypg) and four touchdowns…Ranked sixth in the conference with an average of 4.08 receptions per game and 13th with 49.08 yards receiving per contest…Caught 54-of-73 passes targeted to him (73.97%), as the opposition managed to deflect four of those pass attempts (5.48%)…36 of his catches produced first downs (66.67%), as he converted 11-of-19 third-down throws (57.90%) and 2-of-2 fourth-down tosses (100%)…Gained at least 10 yards on 29 receptions (53.70%), including four that went for 20 yards or longer (7.41%)…In addition to his four touch-downs, Williams had crucial catches that set up thirteen other Arkansas touchdown drives and seven more that ended in field goals…Added one solo tackle…His 54 receptions place fourth on the school's overall season-record list.
2010 game analysis
Tennessee Tech…Williams opened the season with five receptions for 68 yards…During a late first quarter drive, the tight end snagged a 19-yard pass en route to a seven-yard scoring run by Dennis Johnson…In the third quarter, he caught a 12-yard pass good for a first down to the opponent's 18 before Ronnie Wingo, Jr. finished off the three-play, 30-yard possession with a 10-yard touchdown run…Head to Head Competition-SS#45 Dustin Dillehay (5:09-190)-Two solo tackles, one forced fumble, one interception…Williams Offensive Impact-Caught 5-of-5 passes targeted to him (100%) for 68 yards…Had critical catches that set up two other touchdown drives…Four of his receptions produced first downs, as he converted 1-of-1 third-down plays and had four catches for at least 10 yards…The team completed 23-of-30 passes for 323 yards and 11 first downs, finishing with 519 total yards on 58 snaps (8.9 yards per play).
Dale Zanine/US Presswire
Georgia…Williams hauled in a season-high six reception for 61 yards…With seconds remaining in the game, the tight end grabbed first down passes of 15 and 18-yards before Greg Childs came up with a 40-yard game-winning score…Head to Head Competition-SS#18 Baccari Rambo (6:00-211)-Seven tackles (two solos), 1.5 stops for loss…Williams Offensive Impact-Caught 6-of-9 passes targeted to him (66.67%) for 61 yards, as one of those pass attempts was deflected by the opposition…Had critical catches that set up two touchdown drives…Three of his receptions produced first downs, as he converted 0-of-1 third-down plays and had three catches for at least 10 yards…The team completed 21-of-33 passes for 380 yards and 13 first downs, finishing with 433 total yards on 56 snaps (7.7 yards per play).
Alabama…Williams contributed 63 yards on five receptions…During a first quarter drive, the tight end hauled in an 18-yard pass before fumbling on a hit by Courtney Upshaw. Ray Dominguez recovered for the Razorbacks, as the 12-play, 52-yard possession ended in a 31-yard field goal by Zach Hocker…He added a 12-yard reception good for a first down that led to a one-yard touchdown run by Ryan Mallett in the second quarter, and caught an 18-yarder to help set up a 48-yard Hocker field goal in the third frame…Head to Head Competition-SS#4 Mark Barron (6:02-210)-Eight tackles (seven solos), one sasck, one pass deflection…Williams Offensive Impact-Caught 5-of-6 passes targeted to him (83.33%) for 63 yards…Had critical catches that set up two field goal drives…Three of his receptions produced first downs, as he converted 0-of-1 third-down plays and had four catches for at least 10 yards…The team completed 25-of-38 passes for 357 yards and 14 first downs, finishing with 421 total yards on 58 snaps (7.3 yards per play).
Texas A&M…Williams managed three receptions for 23 yards, including an 11-yard grab on a third-&-1 attempt in the third quarter…Head to Head Competition-SS#1 Trent Hunter (5:10-190)-Two tackles (one solo)…Williams Offensive Impact-Caught 3-of-6 passes targeted to him (100%) for 23 yards, as one of those pass attempts was deflected by the opposition…One of his receptions produced a first down, as he converted 1-of-2 third-down plays and had one catch for at least 10 yards…The team completed 27-of-38 passes for 310 yards and 11 first downs, finishing with 442 total yards on 74 snaps (6.0 yards per play).
Auburn…Williams finished with four catches for 20 yards…In the third quarter, the tight end converted a crucial fourth-&-6 attempt with a six-yard grab and Ronnie Wingo, Jr. scored a play later off a 37-yard touchdown reception…Head to Head Competition-S#4 Zac Etheridge (5:11-213)-Three tackles (one solo), one fumble recovery…Williams Offensive Impact-Caught 4-of-4 passes targeted to him (100%) for 20 yards…Had critical catches that set up one touchdown drive…Two of his receptions produced first downs, as he converted 1-of-1 fourth-down plays…The team completed 35-of-49 passes for 428 yards and 19 first downs, finishing with 566 total yards on 77 snaps (7.4 yards per play).
Mississippi…Williams caught just two passes for 55 yards, but hauled in a 46-yarder in the first quarter to set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Knile Davis…Head to Head Competition-SS#20 Johnny Brown (6:00-212)-11 tackles (six solos)…Williams Offensive Impact-Caught 2-of-4 passes targeted to him (50%) for 55 yards…Had critical catches that set up one touchdown drive…One of his receptions produced a first down, as he had one catch for at least 20 yards…The team completed 16-of-29 passes for 267 yards and eight first downs, finishing with 464 total yards on 56 snaps (8.3 yards per play).
Vanderbilt…Williams scored for the first time this season off a two-yard touchdown toss from Ryan Mallett in the opening quarter…He converted a third-&-4 in the second quarter with a 10-yard reception, leading to a 26-yard field goal by Zach Hocker…The tight end finished with four catches for 32 yards with one touchdown….Head to Head Competition-SS#21 Sean Richardson (6:02-215)-Nine tackles (three solos), three pass deflections…
Williams Offensive Impact-Caught 4-of-5 passes targeted to him (80%) for 32 yards and one touchdown, as one of those pass attempts was deflected by the opposition…Had critical catches that set up one other field goal drive…Two of his receptions produced first downs, as he converted 1-of-2 third-down plays and had two catches for at least 10 yards…The team completed 28-of-48 passes for 417 yards and 16 first downs, finishing with 555 total yards on 84 snaps (6.6 yards per play).
South Carolina…Williams delivered five receptions for 67 yards…During Arkansas' first possession, Williams converted a third-&-10 with a 19-yard grab, setting up a four-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Mallett to Cobi Hamilton…Late in the first quarter, he caught a 15-yarder to convert another third-&-10, leading to a 41-yard field goal by Zach Hocker…He also grabbed an 11-yard toss late in the second quarter during a three-play, 38-yard series that ended in a touchdown run by Knile Davis…Head to Head Competition-SS#21 DeVonte Holloman (6:02-228)-Four solo tackles, one interception…Williams Offensive Impact-Caught 5-of-6 passes targeted to him (83.33%) for 67 yards…Had critical catches that set up two touchdown drives and another that ended in a field goal…Four of his receptions produced first downs, as he converted 2-of-2 third-down plays and had four catches for at least 10 yards…The team completed 21-of-30 passes for 303 yards and 13 first downs, finishing with 443 total yards on 68 snaps (6.5 yards per play).
Texas-El Paso…Williams scored two touchdowns and finished with 58 yards on five receptions…On a third-&-3 attempt in the second quarter, the tight end hauled in a 32-yard scoring pass from Ryan Mallett to cap a five-play, 51-yard series…He added a six-yard touchdown grab in the third quarter, and converted a third-&-7 later that period with an eight-yard reception, leading to a five-yard scoring completion from Mallett to Chris Gragg…Head to Head Competition-SS#29 Wiston Jeune (6:03-210)-Eight tackles (three solos)…Williams Offensive Impact-Caught 5-of-6 passes targeted to him (83.33%) for 58 yards and two touchdowns…Had critical catches that set up one other touchdown drive…Four of his receptions produced first downs, as he converted 2-of-2 third-down plays and had one catch for at least 20 yards…The team completed 23-of-31 passes for 251 yards and 14 first downs, finishing with 577 total yards on 72 snaps (8.0 yards per play).
Mississippi State… Williams finished with four receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown… During a first quarter drive, he converted a fourth-&-1 with a five-yard reception and then finished off the series by hauling in a 25-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Mallett…He came up with a 32-yard toss in the second frame, setting up a 32-yard field goal by Zach Hocker…Head to Head Competition-SS#4 Charles Mitchell (5:11-205)-12 tackles (eight solos)…Williams Offensive Impact-Caught 4-of-5 passes targeted to him (80%) for 70 yards and one touchdown, as one of those pass attempts was deflected by the opposition…Had critical catches that set up one other field goal drive…Four of his receptions produced first downs, as he converted 1-of-1 fourth-down plays and had two catches for at least 20 yards…The team completed 17-of-26 passes for 305 yards and 12 first downs, finishing with 488 total yards on 61 snaps (8.0 yards per play).
Louisiana State…Williams snared three passes for 28 yards…He caught a 15-yard pass from Ryan Mallett in the first quarter, leading to a 14-yard scoring run by Knile Davis…He added a 14-yarder in the fourth period that helped set up a 19-yard field goal by Zach Hocker…Head to Head Competition-SS#1 Eric Reid (6:02-207)-Two tackles (one solo), one interception…Williams Offensive Impact-Caught 3-of-3 passes targeted to him (100%) for 28 yards…Had critical catches that set up one touchdown drive…Two of his receptions produced first downs, as he had two catches for at least 10 yards…The team completed 13-of-23 passes for 320 yards and nine first downs, finishing with 464 total yards on 70 snaps (6.6 yards per play).
Ohio State (Sugar Bowl)…Williams closed out the season by snagged five passes for 38 yards…During Arkansas' second possession, the tight end came up with an 18-yard pass to the opponent's 17 and Joe Adams finished off the drive a play later with a touchdown reception from Ryan Mallett….He converted a third-&-6 with an eight-yard grab in the second quarter, leading to a 20-yard field goal by Zach Hocker as time expired in the first half…Following a 22-yard scoring reception by Jarius Wright in the third quarter, Williams caught a short pass from Mallett to convert the two-point attempt…Head to Head Competition-SS#19 Orhian Johnson (6:02-205)-Six tackles (four solos), one pass break-up…Williams Offensive Impact-Caught 5-of-9 passes targeted to him (55.56%) for 38 yards…Had critical catches that set up one touchdown drive and another that ended in a field goal…Three of his receptions produced first downs, as he converted 2-of-5 third-down plays and had two catches for at least 10 yards…The team completed 24-of-47 passes for 277 yards and 14 first downs, finishing with 402 total yards on 78 snaps (5.2 yards per play).
All-Southeastern Conference second-team selection by the league's coaches…Member of Watch Lists for the Rotary Lombardi (Top Lineman) and John Mackey (Top Tight End) Awards…AFCA Good Works Team and FedEx Orange Bowl Courage Award nominee… Earned College Football Performance Award National Tight End Performer of the Week vs. South Carolina and honorable mention vs. Georgia and Troy…Played in all thirteen games with nine starts and ranked third on the team with 32 receptions for 411 yards (12.84 ypc) and three touchdowns…Ranked 24th in the SEC with an average of 2.46 receptions per game while his 31.62 yards receiving per contest placed 23rd…Caught 32-of-51 passes targeted to him (62.75%), as the opposition managed to deflect 11 of those pass attempts (21.57%)…18 of his catches produced first downs (56.25%), as he converted 6-of-16 third-down throws (37.50%) and 0-of-1 fourth-down tosses…Williams gained at least 10 yards on 12 receptions (37.50%), including six that went for 20 yards or longer (18.75%)…In addition to his three touchdowns, Williams had crucial catches that set up seven other Arkansas touchdown drives and two more that ended in field goals…Also recorded one solo tackle.
2009 game highlights
Missouri State…Opened the season with two receptions for 20 yards, including a 12-yard grab good for a first down in the second quarter that helped set up a field goal.
Georgia…During a third quarter drive, Williams caught a 40-yard pass to the opponent's two yard-line and then hauled in a two-yard touchdown a few plays later on third-&-goal, as he finished with four receptions for 58 yards.
Alabama…Caught two passes for 26 yards, including a 23-yarder in the third quarter that set up a touchdown pass from Ryan Mallett to Greg Childs.
Auburn…Had six receptions for 57 yards, including a five-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter that capped an eight-play, 69-yard possession.
Eastern Michigan…Managed two catches for nine yards.
South Carolina…Registered a career-high 137 yards on a season-best seven receptions…
With just 22 seconds remaining in the first half, Williams hauled in a 69-yard pass to the opponent's seven yard-line, setting up a 24-yard field goal as time expired…Early in the third quarter, the tight end converted a third-&-1 with a 26-yard reception, leading to a short touchdown run by Ryan Mallett…In the final period, Williams converted a third-&-5 inside the red zone with a seven-yard catch to set up a scoring run by Broderick Green.
Troy…Scored on a 28-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, as he finished with four receptions for 62 yards.
Mississippi State…Snared four passes for 30 yards…During a fourth quarter series, Williams converted a third-&-3 with a five-yard reception and then added a 15-yard grab good for another set of downs before Greg Childs finished the possession with an 11-yard touchdown catch.
East Carolina (Liberty Bowl)…Only reception was a 12-yard catch good for a first down in the third quarter that led to a 25-yard field goal.
D.J. Williams stretches for a two-point conversion in the Sugar Bowl. Derick Hingle/US Presswire
Sophomore All-American first-team choice by The NFL Draft Report…All-Southeastern Conference first-team selection by the league's media and second-team choice by the league's coaches…Semifinalist for the John Mackey Award (Top Tight End)…Named team MVP by The Little Rock Touchdown Club…Played in all twelve games with eight starts and led the team with 61 receptions for 723 yards (11.85 ypc) and three touchdowns…Ranked second in the SEC and 55th nationally with an average of 5.08 receptions per game… Placed seven in the conference and 79th in the NCAA with an average of 60.25 yards receiving per game…His 61 receptions are a single-season school record for a tight end and are topped only by J.J. Meadors (62; 1995) among all receivers in Arkansas season history…Caught ten passes vs. Mississippi, setting a school game-record for a tight end while ranking as the fifth-highest game total in Razorbacks history.
2008 game highlights
Opened the season with five receptions for 45 yards vs. Western Illinois…Scored the first two touchdowns of his career vs. Louisiana-Monroe, as he finished with five receptions for 124 yards and two scores…Contributed five receptions for 48 yards vs. Alabama…Caught four passes for 39 yards vs. Texas…Gained 35 yards on six receptions vs. Florida…Had three catches for 24 yards vs. Auburn…Set a school record for receptions by a tight end vs. Mississippi, finishing with 10 catches for 129 yards…Followed that up with another 129 yards on six receptions vs. Tulsa…Had four receptions for 40 yards vs. South Carolina… Hauled in five passes for 59 yards and his third touchdown of the season vs. Mississippi State…Finished with eight receptions for 51 yards vs. Louisiana State.
Southeastern Conference All-Freshman first-team choice…Played in all thirteen games as a true freshman with two starts and managed five receptions for 94 yards (18.80 ypc)… Added one solo tackle.
2007 game highlights
Made his collegiate debut and recorded the first reception of his career with a 16-yarder in the season-opener vs. Troy…Had a 24-yard reception vs. Kentucky…Followed that up a week later with a season-long 28-yard catch vs. North Texas…Caught a 14-yard pass vs. Auburn…Had a 12-yard reception in the regular season finale vs. Louisiana State.
2006 Season…Missed five games during his high school senior season after suffering a high ankle sprain.
Campus agility tests
4.62 in the 40-yard dash…1.59 10-yard dash…2.61 20-yard dash…4.41 20-yard shuttle…
12.10 60-yard shuttle…7.25 three-cone drill…31-inch vertical jump…9'6" broad jump… Bench pressed 225 pounds 19 times…345-pound bench press…480-pound squat…30 5/8-inch arm length…9 7/8-inch hands.
Attended Central Arkansas Christian (North Little Rock, Ark.) High School, playing football for head coach Tim Perry…Associated Press Arkansas Super Team and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All-Arkansas squad choice…Rated the ninth-best tight end in the nation and the fourth-best overall prospect in the state of Arkansas by Rivals.com, a recruiting service that awarded him with a four-star prospect rating…On the HawgSports.com "Natural 21" list, Williams ranked third…Scout.com listed him as a four-star prospect, the 14th-best tight end in the country and the fourth-best overall player in the state…Hawgs Illustrated also ranked him fourth among Arkansas high school players…During his sophomore season, Williams led the Mustangs to the state title, as the Class 4A All-Region VII defensive lineman recorded 80 tackles that included seven sacks, eight more stops behind the line of scrimmage and a fumble recovery…The following season, he enjoyed success on both sides of the ball. He caught 51 passes for 688 yards and eight touch-downs, adding 19 carries for 82 yards while registering 132 tackles…Injuries limited Williams to eight games during his senior year, but he still managed to record 103 tackles (69 solos), eight sacks and two forced fumbles…Graduated with a 3.2 grade point average.
Communications major…Son of Vicky Williams…Named to the 2010 Southeastern Conference Football Community Service Team…One of 106 student-athletes nominated for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team in 2009, which honors college football players who make outstanding contributions in the areas of volunteerism and civic involvement. FedEx Orange Bowl Courage Award nominee…From participation in the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program, to the local Boys & Girls Clubs and Children's hospital, Williams has demonstrated he has a big heart and a passion for giving back to his community. He has used his stature as a prominent college football player to raise awareness and inspire others to abandon troubled relationships and seek help. Additionally, Williams has been involved in Lift Up America "Feeding the Hungry", the Book Hogs Read to Win program, Thanksgiving Dinner at Homestyle Assisted Living Center, the Sweat Hogs program and was active in Razorback Relief: Operation Haiti at the Randal Tyson Indoor Track Center in which the Northwest Arkansas community packaged a record of more than 1.4 million meals for the starving population of Haiti still suffering from the earthquake. In addition, he spoke to 1,200 elementary children at Bud Walton Arena as part of the Red Ribbon Rally during drug awareness week…Son of Vicky Williams…Born 9/10/88 in Dallas, Texas…Resides in Little Rock, Arkansas.
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