James Williams declares for NFL draft

Redshirt junior running back leaves a season early to pursue his dream



Redshirt junior running back James Williams attempts to leap over San Jose State senior cornerback John Toussaint on Sept. 8 in Martin Stadium.

DYLAN GREENE, Evergreen deputy sports editor

Redshirt junior running back James Williams will forgo his senior season and declare for the NFL draft.

He announced his decision in a Twitter post Saturday.

“I want to say this from the bottom of my heart: This is not a farewell in any way, just the next chapter in my life,” Williams wrote. “I am a Cougar for life. I love this university and all the people who make it so special.”

Williams finishes his career with 1,539 rushing yards and 1,437 receiving yards in 39 games.

In the post, Williams said he is still two semesters away from earning his bachelor’s degree but he plans on finishing it.

On New Year’s Eve Williams announced he and his fiancee Rye Kanani are having a child.

Williams rushed for 560 yards and 12 touchdowns on 122 attempts and caught 83 passes for 613 yards and four touchdowns this past season.

The Burbank, California native was a part of 28 Cougar victories over three seasons and finishes his career with 201 career receptions. He is tied with Jamal Morrow for the most by a WSU running back.

Growing up, Williams and his family spent about a year sleeping in motels, the backseat of a car and the floor of a church as his family made the transition from Toledo, Ohio to California.

Williams saw football as a way out and by his senior season in high school he was receiving scholarship offers from a number of Division 1 schools. Unfortunately, two games into his senior season Williams tore his ACL and MCL.

After the injury, every school dropped their scholarship offer to him except WSU.

With Williams leaving for the NFL early, the Cougars will look to Max Borghi to help fill the void. In his first season, the freshman running back had 366 rushing yards and eight touchdowns and 374 receiving yards and four touchdowns.