Birthday: April 25, 1983
When an undersized, jitterbugging running back in a blue #20 jersey catches your eye, you might need to remind yourself that Barry Sanders is still retired. While DeAngelo Williams may never be quite the running back Sanders was in the NFL (who would anyway?), the visible similarities between the two are still startling.
Williams is a big fish in the small Conference USA pond. It’s where he set or nearly set most of the meaningful rushing records in conference history. Locally, Houston Cougar fans might recall the game in 2004 when Williams rushed for 262 yards, setting a school record. Williams would go on to break his new record later in the season.
Williams’ 2004 season ended on a sour note though. With just over a quarter to play in the GMAC Bowl, he fractured his right fibula, an injury that likely made his decision to stay at Memphis a little bit easier than he might have wanted. Had he declared for the 2005 draft, Williams likely would have been a first round pick. Having recovered wonderfully from a torn MCL near the end of the 2003 season to rush for 1,948 yards and a nation’s best 22 touchdowns last year, Williams should have little difficulty making it all the way back from his latest injury.
When he’s healthy, Williams is a swirling, swerving, hip-shaking shifter with the sub-4.5 speed necessary to turn the corner on the outside, even keeping defenders at bay with a little stiff arm. And don’t sub him out on third downs, either. Williams a worthy threat as receiver, taking screens and running short routes.
Williams had a bad case of fumblitis in 2003, coughing up the pigskin six times that season. Despite his smaller size, he can be a good inside runner, but he still needs to prove that he won’t lose the handle on the football in traffic. One thing he doesn’t lose often though is his cool. A quiet leader with a sharp mind, Williams doesn’t have much of an ego at all, which is pretty unusual for his position. He’s also a dedicated athlete, so he’ll keep in shape in the offseason and keep his NFL team happy.
(profile written by Keith Weiland)
DeAngelo Williams’ 2004 Stats G CAR YDS AVG TD 12 313 1,948 6.2 22 DeAngelo Williams Home