Rawleigh Williams Walking Away From Football
FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – The career of Rawleigh Williams was short lived at Arkansas but the running back saw plenty of peaks and valleys. It was the low part that is telling him to walk away after two seasons with the Razorbacks.
Williams was carted off the field in the Razorbacks’ final spring practice with what was diagnosed as a stinger but it was the second time he left the field on a stretcher and not his own free will. This time would be the last as he announced Monday that he’s walking away from the game of football.
“For the 15th time this spring I suited up. I prayed in my locker and took the field by double-taping my chest twice before pointing to the sky,” Williams said in a letter on ArkansasRazorbacks.com. “An outside zone run to the left side. I’ve run that play literally hundreds of times in my college career. Maybe more.
“This outside zone run to the left would be my last.
“Not again. I remembered the feeling. It didn’t last as long so I wasn’t as nervous, but I knew something was wrong. I knew that it was similar enough to the last time.”
Williams first went down against Auburn during his freshman season and needed neck surgery that forced him to miss spring drills in 2016. Williams went on to lead the SEC in rushing during the fall of 2016 with 1,360 yards and accounted for 13 total touchdowns.
“As a head coach you always remember the first meeting you have with all your recruits and how that first impression is made,” Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said in a statement released by the university. “Rawleigh was committed to another school, but after a visit with him and his father, I knew we had a chance. We said at the time that unique recruiting stories often lead to unique experiences in the years ahead and that has been no disappointment. Rawleigh handled his recruiting with maturity and class and that followed into his playing career. At Arkansas, not only does he have All-SEC academic success, but he also steps away as the reigning SEC regular season rushing leader. This next chapter in Rawleigh’s life will be filled with unlimited success in any career path or anyway of life he chooses. As a head coach I couldn’t be more excited to begin the next chapter with him and be there for him.”
Williams finished his Arkansas career with 1,614 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns while adding 20 receptions for 246 yards and another score.
“Rawleigh is a guy that every team in college football wishes they could have on their team,” Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen said in a statement released by the university. “He’s hardworking, unselfish, determined and an all-around great teammate. When your best player is also the one who treats others with respect, is the hardest working, and one of the best in the classroom, you know that guy is special. That will be Rawleigh’s lasting legacy with this program. Just because his playing career is over doesn’t mean he won’t have an influence on all of us for his rest of his time at the University of Arkansas. He will be with us every step of the way through this upcoming season. We should all strive to do it the ‘Rawleigh Williams way’ because if we do that, the sky is the limit.”