Player Profile #96 – TE/H-Back D.J. Williams

There are inspirational stories throughout the 2011 NFL Draft class, yet they all take a back seat to the life story of TE D.J. Williams.

That he’s on the verge of an NFL career is a remarkable landmark in a journey that began with great fear and large doses of emotional and physical pain. Through that start in life came a young man who has taken his God given athletic ability, mixed it with intelligence and desire and Williams is about to have a chance for a successful career.

The only hurdle in front of him is where he will play and how he will fit into an NFL roster. As an undersized TE, Williams is not a classic body for the position. But his athletic skills will make him a great weapon for an offense looking for mismatches in pass coverage.

After everything that’s happened in the life of D.J. Williams, do not count against him.


David J. Williams/D.J. Williams

Born: September 1988 in Dallas, Texas.

Parents: David and Vicky Williams. David is currently serving concurrent sentences of 25 and 27 years on several charges including attempted murder and aggravated assault. He is incarcerated at the Allan B. Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas, a facility considered by some the hardest prison to do time in throughout the state of Texas. The Unit includes Texas Death Row inmates. He went into the Polunsky Unit in 1999 and David E. Williams is eligible for parole in 2013.

After suffering years of abuses Vicky Williams took D.J. and daughter Vanessa and left the family home in Carrollton, Texas in September 1999 just before her husband went to prison. Another daughter Valerie left the home earlier and moved to Dallas. The family ended up in Little Rock, Arkansas, where they were helped by the Immanuel Baptist Church in establishing a new life. Here’s a link to a video that explains what D.J. Williams, his mother and sisters went through.

D.J. Williams – Disney Spirit Award


  • Height – 6-feet, 2 inches.
  • Weight – 245 pounds.
  • Arms – 31½ inches.
  • Hands – 10 3/8 inches.
  • 40-yard dash – 4.59 seconds.
  • 20-yard dash – 2.62 seconds.
  • 10-yard dash – 1.62 seconds.
  • Bench press – 20 repetitions at 225 pounds.
  • Vertical jump – 33 ½ inches.
  • Broad jump – 9-feet, 3 inches.


Williams graduated from Central Arkansas Christian High School in North Little Rock, Class of ’07.

On the field, he was named to the Associated Press All-Arkansas super-team and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette all-state squad as a linebacker. In February, Williams was named one of the 12 semi-finalists for the 81st annual AAA James E. Sullivan Memorial Award and the country’s most outstanding amateur athlete.


2006 – Played in only eight games in his senior year because of an injury. He still finished with 103 total tackles, 8 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.

2005 – In two-way action, Williams caught 51 passes for 688 yards and 8 TDs as a tight end and had 132 tackles on defense for coach Tim Perry.

2004 – Part of a 5-A state championship team as a sophomore with the Mustangs. He finished the year with 80 tackles and seven sacks.


Arkansas and Georgia Tech appeared to be the two schools that had the most interest in Williams during the recruiting process. Vanderbilt, Tulsa, Colorado, Oklahoma State, Mississippi and Mississippi State also recruited him. He picked Arkansas, committing in September ’06.


Williams graduated in December with a degree in communications.

As his college career ended, Williams was the NCAA’s leading active career leader in receptions and receiving yards for a tight end, 152 catches for 1,855 yards. Those 152 catches rank him second on the Arkansas all-time catch list and tops among non-wide receivers. He also won the 2010 John Mackey Award as college football’s top tight end. Williams won All-SEC honors in his last three seasons.

Williams also won the Disney Spirit Award as college football’s most inspirational figure.

  • 2010 – Played and started all 13 games, including the Sugar Bowl against Ohio State. He was named first-team All-SEC. Best overall performance was against UTEP with five catches for 58 yards and 2 touchdowns.
  • 2009 – Played in 13 games and started 9 times, earning second-team All-SEC honors. He was third on the team in catches with 32 for 411 yards. Williams caught nine passes for 137 yards against South Carolina.
  • 2008 – Appeared in 12 games, starting 9 and earned first-team (by Associated Press) and second-team (coaches) All-SEC selections. The Little Rock Touchdown Club named Williams the team’s MVP. He led the team with 61 catches, 723 yards and 3 TDs. He caught 129 yards in passes in back-to-back games against Ole Miss and Tulsa. His 61 catches set a single season record for tight ends in a season and his 10 catches against Mississippi set a single-game record.
  • 2007 – Appeared in 12 games, with one start as a true freshman and was named SEC All-Freshmen first team. He caught five passes for 18.8 yards per catch.











































Strengths – Gifted athlete who tends to get open thanks to his body control and route running ability. Not exceptionally fast or quick, he’s very good at creating enough space for the QB to get a target. Williams gets off the line with a quick release when he’s not facing press coverage. He has soft, reliable hands and good concentration, and can catch the ball over either shoulder. Always runs hard and that stretches the defense and picks up extra yards after the catch. Despite his lack of size, he’s a willing and aggressive blocker. Leadership and work ethic are unquestioned

Weaknesses – Not big physically, and has short arms. He has average strength for his size, but he’s not very powerful. Not exceptionally fast, but plays better than his 40-yard times. Not elusive with the ball in his hands. Just average in leaping ability and can get outmuscled for jump balls down the field. With 152 career catches, he scored just 10 TDs with no more than four in any one season.

Analysis – Williams is very much like a TE/HB/FB version of Dexter McCluster. He’s not going to be able to play a normal TE or HB spot with an NFL offense because of his lack of size. He’ll be a positional player, one that must have packages that allow him to use his athletic ability to get open. Linebackers won’t be able to cover him, and some safeties will struggle; thus he creates the potential for mismatches.


From an AFC scout – “A real tweener physically and he’ll be in demand by some offensive coaches and ignored by others who don’t have a place for him to fit. His intangibles are through the roof and the kid had a great personality. He doesn’t fit our team, but he’s still on our board because of those intangibles.”

From an NFC scout – “I’ll bet you a steak at St. Elmo’s (Indianapolis steak house) that this kid ends up with the Colts. They’ll target this kid right from the start. He’s going to be their next Dallas Clark. He’s got the same general dimensions and with some weight room work he’ll get stronger. With an offense like the Colts, he has the potential to be a Pro Bowler.”


On growing up in a home where his father was a drug addict and physically abusive – “It was the worst situation you could ever imagine. It’s still hard to look back on. There were times that I just sat down and watched. That hurt the worst. I was so small. There was nothing I could do. I felt so helpless.”

Lesson learned from his background – “I learned through it all to expect the unexpected. I could never have imagined in a thousand years I would be in the position I’m in now back then. Truly, it just proves that anything is possible for anyone.”

What else he learned from his background – “So every day I go out with a smile on my face. There are some days, you know, when you don’t feel like getting out of bed, my back hurts, my toe may be bugging me – but, besides that, I enjoy playing football and the thing that pushes me most is what I’m playing for.”

What he learned from Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino – “He made me understand the importance of being versatile as a player. It’s not just about catching, but it’s about blocking. I took a lot of pride in blocking, especially when I watched game film. I saw myself put some people on their backs. It has been a huge confidence boost for me. Now, when I’m running routes, you don’t know what I’m going to do.”


Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino – “In every aspect of his life — whether it’s the training room or the weight room, with his faculty advisors or with the women’s basketball coach — he becomes great friends with them. He’s just a great young guy who appreciates life and makes it easy for everybody.”


Williams qualifies as a fit with the Chiefs when it comes to his personality, work ethic and determination. But it’s tough to see how he would fit into the Chiefs offense as it is presently put together. It would be a luxury pick at a time when Pioli/Haley are still trying to fill in some of the building blocks in the base of the roster. If the offensive line was solid and there were options at wide receiver, then D.J. Williams would make sense.

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