Kasen Williams was a Parade All-America National Player of the Year in 2011, but devastating injuries in 2013 derailed his career. He will try to impress during UW’s Pro Day on Thursday and has been working with Keith Price, his former UW quarterback.
Back with his old quarterback, Kasen Williams expects to show NFL scouts that he is back to his old self, too.
Williams and former Washington quarterback Keith Price have worked out together in recent weeks, hoping to rekindle the connection that made them one of the most accomplished passing combinations in UW history. They have scripted routes and throws that they will showcase Thursday during the Huskies’ Pro Day workout at Dempsey Indoor Facility.
Representatives from most, if not all, of the 32 NFL teams will be on hand, and most will be there to see the four potential early-round draft picks expected to work out: Danny Shelton, Shaq Thompson, Hau’oli Kikaha and Marcus Peters. Those are the headliners, the All-Americans with can’t-miss pro potential.
Williams and Price have been relegated to something of a sideshow.
Most Read Sports Stories
- Will UW men land 5-star recruit Isaiah Stewart? Huskies will find out Sunday
- Jake Browning gets start, throws two interceptions during NFLPA Collegiate Bowl
- What separates the haves and the have-nots of high-school athletics — and Washington's plan to fix it
- UW's Jake Browning set to play in NFLPA Collegiate Bowl at the Rose Bowl on Saturday
- Sports on TV & radio: Local listings for Seattle games and events
Williams, a 6-foot-3, 217-pound receiver, isn’t bothered by that. He knows he’s not popping up in anyone’s mock draft — not anymore, not after the gruesome leg injury that derailed his UW career — but he remains confident he can still make his NFL dream a reality.
“I definitely have a chip on my shoulder, and I know he does, too,” said Williams, who as a sophomore in 2012 had 77 catches for 878 yards and six touchdowns working with Price. “Keith was a very good quarterback in college and he didn’t get the opportunity he felt he should’ve gotten (in the NFL). And I didn’t have the best senior year that I should’ve had, and we’re both using that (as motivation).”
Price finished his UW career in 2013 as the Huskies’ all-time leader with 75 touchdown passes, 12 of those to Williams. This past fall, Williams finished his UW career ranked third on the school’s all-time list with 162 career receptions.
As a senior, however, Williams had a career-low 20 catches for 189 yards while working his way back from a broken left fibula and Lisfranc fracture in his left foot. Those injuries came while Williams made a leaping attempt to grab a high throw from Price in an October 2013 game against California at Husky Stadium.
It took until the Jan. 2 Cactus Bowl this year, when Williams had five catches for 83 yards in his final game in a UW uniform, for the receiver to finally look healthy and explosive again.
As a senior at Skyline High School in 2011, Williams became Washington state’s first-ever Parade All-America National Player of the Year. Two years ago, before his junior season at UW and before the injuries, he had designs on an early entry into the NFL draft. Some analysts had him pegged as a potential early-round draft pick.
Now, some have suggested he won’t get drafted at all. A scouting report on NFL.com notes that, based on his senior-season production, Williams “isn’t even remotely draftable.” The report also said teams are concerned about his injuries, but added “if his health checks out, he could become a practice-squad penny stock with a chance to pay off down the road when fully healthy.”
“It is what it is,” Williams said. “At the end of the day, I believe in what I can do, and all I need is for one team to fall in love with me. I don’t need to win the hearts of all 32 teams. Just one.”
This winter, Williams spent about three months training at Proactive Sports Performance in Westlake Village, Calif., and this week he pronounced himself completely healthy. With help from his old quarterback, he’s eager to show that to NFL scouts Thursday.
“When you get to the NFL,” Williams said, “it’s not about how you got there, it’s not about what draft pick you were — it’s about what you do when you get there. That’s exactly what I’m counting on. I don’t care about where I go or where I get drafted.
“I just know I’ve learned a lot, and I’m a much better person now. I went through a little adversity, and I’m still that player that I know I can be.
“All I need is a chance,” he added. “I believe the best is yet to come.”