Thirty minutes after he had gutted the Boston College defense for 159 rushing yards in a little more than two quarters of work last Saturday,
Wearing number 34 in honor of Payton, Williams is a big reason why No. 4 Virginia Tech is back in the national title picture five weeks after losing to Alabama. Against the Eagles, the Hokies played their most complete game of the season, outgaining BC 441 yards to 163 in a 48-14 win. "We're hitting on all cylinders," said coach
So must the play of Williams. A native of Manassas, Va., Williams ran for more than 3,000 yards at Stonewall Jackson High, where he was a four-year starter. After his freshman season his coach,
"I've coached a lot of great backs -- guys like
When Williams arrived in 2008, though, his pass-blocking was shaky, so the staff decided to redshirt him. While on the scout team he gained 10 pounds, improved his blocking and routinely sliced through the first-team defense with a combination of speed (he runs a 4.43 40), power (he can bench-press 345 pounds) and elusiveness. This spring, the first time he touched the ball in the opening scrimmage, he ran 80 yards for a TD. Then in the spring game, he sprinted 56 yards to the end zone -- also on his first touch. Like that his legend was born.
It's growing. Thrust into the starting lineup after
"I came to Virginia Tech because they've produced so many NFL running backs," Williams said. "Hopefully, I can be the next in that line. Hopefully, the best is yet to come."