DeAngelo Williams (born April 9, 1983 in ) is an American football Running back in the NFL who currently plays for the Carolina Panthers. He played for the University of Memphis Tigers in college and was drafted 27th overall by the Carolina Panthers in the 2006 NFL Draft.
Williams holds the NCAA records for most career all-purpose yards (7,573) and 100-yard rushing games (34). He also ranks fourth on the all-time NCAA rushing list with 6,026 yards, trailing only Ron Dayne, Ricky Williams, and Tony Dorsett. Williams was on the 2004 Pro Football Weekly All-America Team.
In his final collegiate game, the 2005 Motor City Bowl, Williams helped Memphis defeat the Akron Zips 38-31 by running for a Bowl record 238 yards and scoring 3 Touchdowns. His performance made him the top ground-gainer in college football in 2005. He was also an 2005 selection by the AFCA-Coaches's and the Walter Camp Foundation.
Williams was a finalist for the 2005 Doak Walker Award, which was awarded to Reggie Bush. He came in seventh overall in the Heisman Trophy voting. In 2005, he was named the inaugural winner of the ARA Sportsmanship Award, presented by the Awards and Recognition Association to the Division I football player who best exhibits sportsmanship both on and off the field.
2006 NFL DraftEdit
In January, Williams attended the 2006 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, an annual event in which college seniors and professional prospects are evaluated by NFL personnel in preparation for the NFL. His height was officially measured at 5'9, which led some scouts to question his potential as an undersized back in the NFL. However, scouting reports soon placed him among the most impressive performers during the practice week leading up to the Bowl, and Williams punctuated the week with a strong, if brief, showing in the game itself, rushing for 31 yards on 3 carries and catching 2 passes for 28 yards. For the Combine, Williams trained at D1 Sports Training in Nashville, TN.
On March 24th, at Pro Day on the University of Memphis Tigers campus, Williams ostensibly improved his draft stock even further with an exceptional workout. He ran his 40 yard dash in 4.40 seconds with the wind and 4.48 seconds against the wind. He also impressed in the short shuttle, the three-cone drill, and the long shuttle. In addition, he recorded a 34½-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-9 Broad jump and caught the ball well in receiving drills.
Though at one point he was considered a top ten pick, with some projecting him as high as #4 overall to the New York Jets, Williams saw his draft stock fall a bit in weeks preceding the draft, as many teams filled their needs at the running back position via free agency. On April 29, 2006, Williams was selected by the Carolina Panthers with the 27th overall pick in the NFL Draft. He joined Reggie Bush, LenDale White, Laurence Maroney and Joseph Addai, among others, in a promising draft class at running back. Williams adopted the jersey number 34, which he wore in high school.
He played in the first five games of the 2006 season and looked promising as an alternative to DeShaun Foster in the Carolina backfield, compiling an impressive average of 5.3 yards per carry. He missed weeks 6 through 8 with a sprained ankle. In week 11 against St. Louis, Williams filled in for Foster, who had injured his elbow, and totaled 20 carries for 114 yards. In a Monday Night Football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Williams started for an injured DeShaun Foster and managed 74 rushing yards on 17 carries and an impressive 101 receiving yards on 7 catches with a touchdown.
In the 2007 season, Williams continued to backup DeShaun Foster. In the final week of the season, Williams rushed for 121 yards on 20 carries while scoring 2 touchdowns. He finished the season ninth in the NFL in yards per carry.
Williams established himself as the starting running back for the Panthers prior to the 2008 season. During the 2008 season, Williams shared carries with 2008 draft pick Jonathan Stewart, though Williams received a majority of the work. On November 30, 2008, Williams set a franchise record for rushing touchdowns in one game by scoring four touchdowns in a week 13 game against the Green Bay Packers. In week 15 of the 2008 season, Williams was selected FedEx Ground Player-of-the-Week after a dominating performance in which he rushed for 186 yards on 19 carries and 2 touchdowns vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday Night Football. On December 21, 2008, in a game against the New York Giants for the number one playoff seed, Williams rushed for 108 yards and four touchdowns in an overtime loss. Despite having a stellar season, he was unable to make the Pro Bowl over Adrian Peterson, Michael Turner (American football), and Clinton Portis. Williams credited much his 2008 success to a discussion with Vinny Testaverde and improved pre-game preparation. After the season, Williams was voted Pro Football Weekly and the Professional Football Writers of America's Most Improved Player of the Year.
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