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WSU RB James Williams declares for the NFL Draft

The fourth-year junior will be leaving school a year early to try and jump into the professional ranks.

NCAA Football: Alamo Bowl-Iowa State vs Washington State Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In a move we thought was a distinct likelihood after the season, Washington State Cougars running back James Williams has declared for the NFL Draft.

Williams is one of the best stories to roll through Washington State in recent years. Williams’ family had been homeless shortly after moving to California when he was younger, living in his car with his parents as they struggled to get on their feet. Later, Williams tore up his knee just a couple of games into his senior season at Burbank (Calif.) High School. But Mike Leach and his coaching staff refused to rescind their scholarship offer, instead redshirting him as he recovered in his freshman year.

He flourished at WSU: In his lone season as the feature back as a junior, Boobie piled up 1,176 yards from scrimmage, finishing his career with the second most receiving yards for a running back at WSU, behind only his former teammate, Jamal Morrow. The accolades don’t stop there, as Williams finished ninth all time in school history in yards from scrimmage and nearly tied the school record for touchdowns this year with 16.

I think I can speak for all of us when I say it has truly been a joy to watch Boobie play these last three years. He’s as dynamic a running back as the Cougs have had in quite some time and gave us some incredibly memorable plays, like this one from this season:

And, of course, the Boobie spin cycle:

The very best of luck to a young man I know we have all enjoyed watching over the past three seasons!

So, where does that leave the Cougs at running back for next season? Freshman phenom Max Borghi returns but that’s it as far as “anyone who has actually played in a game” goes. Caleb Perry is a redshirt freshman from King’s in Seattle who has zero career carries, and incoming freshmen Jamir Thomas and Jouvensly Bazile figure to get long looks as Borghi won’t be able to carry the load alone. Running back now figures to be a position to watch very, very closely this spring and into fall camp.