You may not see James Williams play on Saturdays this season, but that hasn't stopped him from brightening the future of WSU football. The redshirting running back -- nicknamed Boobie -- has shown very promising ability against his counterparts from what we've seen this fall.
Every Thursday night, the underclassman scrimmage under the lights at Martin Stadium. If you're a regular reader of Jacob Thorpe's recaps of these (and you should be), you've read Williams' name, as he is often a standout. Lucky for us, we've also got video -- Williams likes to tweet out highlights.
Lets begin with a couple of clips that show him successfully hurdling large humans.
I'm not even sure who to feel worse for in that second clip. The defender who whiffed completely as Williams took flight? Or the defensive back who was quickly put to the turf upon collision?
As cool as those videos are, Williams' greatest asset is probably his speed. He has repeatedly shown his ability to outrun everyone else on the field on Thursday Nights, both on the ground and through the air.
That last one is my favorite, as he makes six different defenders miss with a variety of moves (I'm in love with the spin). Any player who can routinely come out and make plays of that caliber against his talented peers is someone to look out for in the future.
It might be unreasonable to think he will jump into the mix next season and do the exact same things on Saturdays; there likely will be an adjustment period as he gets used to playing with stronger and more explosive athletes on a regular basis. But the potential is there.
Last season a pair of freshman who made big impacts on Thursday Night football were Keith Harrington and Hercules Mata'afa. Harrington has 550 yards from scrimmage on the year and is averaging 7.2 yards per carry, while Mata'afa has made his presence known on the defensive line as a pass rusher and projects as a starter next season. The year before, we heard repeatedly about Jamal Morrow and Gerard Wicks.
I expect Williams to make a similar successful transition into the running back rotation. If he keeps it up, the coaching staff won't be able to avoid getting him touches, even with a crowded backfield. Wicks, Morrow, and Harrington all return next season so it will be interesting to see how the playing time distribution changes with Williams thrown into the mix.
This potential bottleneck has led some of my fellow authors to suggest that Harrington could make a move to the H spot as an inside receiver. This would help to open up some playing time for William's and, more importantly, get more speed on the field at the same time.
In case you wanted some more, here is Williams making four defenders miss on his way to endzone. Get excited, because you will be cheering him on in person next season.