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Trayveon Williams Ready for More

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Texas A&M's Trayveon Williams could be poised for a banner year under new head coach Jimbo Fisher.

Texas A&M's Trayveon Williams is one of the premier running backs in the SEC. He burst onto the national scene as a heralded newcomer in 2016, rushing for 1,057 yards and eight touchdowns in a standout debut. Williams, that fall, became the first true freshman in program history to top the 1,000-yard mark. Now ready to move up to the Aggies' career rushing list after nearly 800 yards as a sophomore, Williams could be poised for a banner year under new head coach Jimbo Fisher.

At 5'9'', 200 pounds Williams is a dynamic runner with a productive combination of speed and strength. As a prep upperclassman out of metro Houston, he rushed for a total of 3,800 yards and 45 touchdowns. Williams, one of the top recruits in Texas, carried that playmaking ability right over to major college football. Two years ago, he trailed only Derrius Guice, Damien Harris and Boom Williams, of SEC running backs with at least 155 carries, at 6.78 yards per rush. He currently has 15 scores and, also, 39 receptions for Texas A&M.  

Two performances, in particular, stand out with Williams; both are for the history books. A 217-yard showcase versus Tennessee in 2016 and a 203-yard effort against UCLA in 2017 speak to the explosive potential that Williams has. He outdueled Joshua Dobbs and Alvin Kamara in a 45-38 overtime triumph over the ninth-ranked Volunteers, later nearly going play-for-play with Josh Rosen in a 45-44 loss at UCLA. Williams already has more 200-yard games than reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year Todd Gurley did at Georgia.   

Reaching 200 yards in a game while facing power five competition in back-to-back seasons puts Williams in rare, perhaps even suggestive, company. Over the last five years, only the following have accomplished that feat;

Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Devontae Booker, Utah
Tevin Coleman, Indiana
Dalvin Cook, Florida State
Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
Leonard Fournette, LSU
Royce Freeman, Oregon
Derrius Guice, LSU
Phillip Lindsay, Colorado
Shock Linwood, Baylor
Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
Samaje Perine, Oklahoma
Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M

Of the above players, only Williams and Perine accomplished the aforementioned as underclassmen.

After a slight dip in production a season ago, Williams may very well be in line for a dramatic statistical boost this fall. His stock is ready to rise. Texas A&M's offensive line returns with more depth and experience and the graduation of Keith Ford should result in Williams now being used as more of a true feature back. Improved consistency in the passing game, see Nick Starkel's progression, should also result in more favorable fronts for Williams at the line of scrimmage. Starkel had two 400-yard, four-touchdown games from last November on.   

Furthermore, for all of the talk of Fisher's past work with quarterbacks, his track record of developing and showcasing star running backs at Florida State is impressive. Fisher had a total of four leading rushers during his eight years with the Seminoles: now-NFL standouts Dalvin Cook, Devonta Freeman and Chris Thompson and, most recently, Cam Akers, who just set a program record for rushing yards by a freshman. Prior to Fisher's tenure, Warrick Dunn, way back in 1996, was Florida State's last 1,000-yard back.    

Williams, late last season, rushed for over 100 yards against SEC West champion Auburn and found the endzone in three of his last four games. Recently, the Texas A&M spring game saw Williams compile over 100 all-purpose yards. Now, the Aggie team captain moves into a leading role as one of the preeminent running backs in the league.

For all that he has already accomplished, Williams is just now getting started. The best, for the rising junior, may still be yet to come.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports