James Williams led all FBS running backs in receiving last season, and has decided to forego his senior season to enter the NFL draft.
There won’t be a senior season at Washington State for do-it-all running back James Williams.
The redshirt junior affectionately known by fans as “Boobie” announced Saturday he plans to forego his final season of college eligibility with the Cougars and will focus on preparing for the NFL draft in April.
Williams, who’s been engaged since the spring, announced on New Year’s Eve he and fiancé Rye Kanani are expecting a child in July. He tweeted Saturday, “I hit a triple lottery when I arrived at Washington State University!”
He also wrote, “This is not a farewell in any way, just the next chapter in my life. I am a Cougar for life. I love this university and all the people who make it so special. I will be forever grateful for the opportunities and lifelong friendships. The WSU family helped guide me from a high school senior with a blown knee and uncertain academic situation to this incredible place in my life.”
It took Williams just three seasons to become one of the most productive offensive players in school history and though he hasn’t appeared on NFL mock draft boards, the Burbank, Calif., native is banking on the fact he’ll be able to capitalize on his best collegiate season.
Most Read Sports Stories
- Should the Seahawks make a run at Minkah Fitzpatrick? The next week or two could tell a lot
- Instant analysis: Three impressions from the No. 23 UW Huskies' 52-20 win over Hawaii
- Sports on TV & radio: Local listings for Seattle games and events
- What to watch for when No. 23 Washington hosts Hawaii, plus Mike Vorel's prediction
- Anthony Gordon passes No. 20 Washington State past Houston to start season 3-0
As the primary tailback for the 11-win Cougars, Williams scored 16 touchdowns this season — 12 rushing and four receiving — and he needed one more to match the single-season record set by Steve Broussard in 1989.
Among running backs at the FBS level, nobody had more receptions than Williams, who had a career-high 81 catches. Utilized frequently in coach Mike Leach’s Air Raid attack, Williams finishes his career tied with Jamal Morrow for career receptions by a WSU running back (201).
With another season, he would’ve leapfrogged former receiver River Cracraft for second on the school’s all-time list, and he would have been in striking distance of Gabe Marks.
Williams, along with Morrow and Gerard Wicks, helped WSU’s running backs corps record consecutive 1,000-yard rushing/receiving seasons in 2016 and ’17.
Williams finishes his WSU career with 27 touchdowns and 2,976 all-purpose yards.
Max Borghi split time with Williams in the Cougars backfield this season, but the Colorodoan is sure to have a more prominent role in the offense next year without his teammate in the picture. Borghi rushed for seven touchdowns and caught four more. He rushed for 353 yards and had 352 receiving yards.