When you’re looking for some of the big shockers in college football from this season, one guy that really stands out is Boston College running back Andre Williams, who has taken the nation by storm and is running all over opposing teams.
Williams has already racked up over 2,000 yards this season, rushing for 2,073 on 320 carries. In his previous three collegiate seasons, Williams rushed for just 1,562 yards combined.
He is only the 13th player in FBS history to rush for over 2,000 yards, and he’s done it with nine games of over 100 yards rushing. That nine game stretch includes five games with over 200 yards and against North Carolina State, a 339 yard performance that opened up everyone’s eyes.
Williams is obviously getting a ton of carries this year, and that seems to be really working for Boston College, who has won four games in a row.
At 6’0″, 227 pounds, Williams is a physically imposing back who has good explosive ability, balance, and power. He doesn’t go down on initial contact and despite the fact that he is a powerful back, he’s not a plodder and has good agility at the second and third level.
Interestingly enough, despite his success running the football, the Boston College offensive gameplan has not included a single catch in the passing game for the talented back. Of course, this is a running team and Williams is getting enough touches anyway, but it’s interesting that dating back to the very start of his career, he only has 10 catches. Total.
That’s something that could worry scouts, but as Bucky Brooks points out, he probably won’t play in a pass heavy scheme in the NFL. Brooks (NFL.com) points out that Williams would be best served playing in an offense similar to Alfred Morris, where his one-cut, between-the-tackles style can really shine.
When I project Williams’ game to the next level, I believe he could thrive as an Alfred Morris-like feature back in a downhill scheme. Like Morris, a Pro Bowler last season, Williams is at his best working between the tackles, and his efficient running style would lead to few negative plays in a similar system. With several teams looking for power runners to add to the rotation, Williams’ emergence as the premier downhill back in college football could make him a viable option as a mid-round selection.
It’s a very favorable comparison for Williams, who is having one of the best seasons we’ve seen for a running back in quite some time and still is expected to be just a mid-round pick in the draft. The NFL is a full-on passing league, and that has diminished considerably the value of the position (RB).
Anyway, I thought this was an interesting comparison for Williams, but I don’t think he’ll last to the sixth round like Alfred Morris did. Not unless he runs the slowest 40 yard dash time at the Combine.
Williams should be a mid-round pick and his combination of toughness and balance, and the fact that he’s proven he can carry a full load should allow him a good shot at a starting RB job in 2014.