Wynne alum DeAngelo Williams selected to Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame

Source: KAIT
Source: KAIT
Updated: Apr. 6, 2020 at 10:13 PM CDT
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Press Release from Memphis Athletics

One of the most decorated players in the history of University of Memphis football is adding to his impressive collection of honors and awards. Former Tigers All-America running back DeAngelo Williams, who played 11 seasons in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers and the Pittsburgh Steelers after leading Memphis to three straight bowl games, is being inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Induction ceremony and ticket details will be announced at a later date.

“It’s an honor to represent the state and, more importantly, the city of Memphis and the state’s biggest brother: the University of Memphis.” Williams said. Williams will share the Hall of Fame stage with a deserving list of inductees: former Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher; former Tennessee quarterback Heath Shuler; former Kentucky and NBA player Tony Delk; women in sports advocated Bettye Giles; “Godfather of Tennessee Golf’ Dick Horton; NHL player and sports analyst Terry Crisp; ex-ETSU and Auburn basketball coach Sonny Smith; two-time NCAA College World Series champion coach Tim Corbin of Vanderbilt and longtime college football defensive coordinator Carl Torbush.

Williams was largely responsible for helping resurrect the Tigers’ football program. When he guided the UofM to the 2003 New Orleans Bowl, a 32-year postseason drought was snapped. As a junior he directed the Tigers to a berth in the GMAC Bowl in Mobile and, as a senior, he was the MVP in the Motor City Bowl win in Detroit over Akron. He rushed for 238 yards and three TDs against Akron.

”A four-year run at Memphis, and an 11-year NFL career can’t properly encapsulate DeAngelo Williams’ contributions to the world," said Brad Willis, Chief Advancement and Operations Officer for the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. “DeAngelo’s philanthropic efforts and his work to raise much-needed funds and awareness for breast cancer are among the ideals that set him above the rest.”

Since 2015, Williams has annually covered the cost of mammogram screening for a selected number of women in various locales through his non-profit foundation: the DeAngelo Williams Foundation. He began sponsoring the free mammogram screening in honor of his mother, Sandra, through the 53 Strong for Sandra program. Sandra Hill, Williams’ mom, died from breast cancer at age 53 six years ago. At each event, the foundation sponsors mammograms for 53 women. The foundation eventually hopes to host a free mammogram screening event in every state.

Williams, who still holds 10 UofM records, rushed for 6,026 career yards and 55 touchdowns in four seasons. In 2005, he was a Heisman Trophy candidate and averaged an NCAA-leading 178.55 rushing yards per game. His 263 rushing yards in 2004 against USF remain a single-game school record.

Williams was named to 16 All-America teams including the elite Walter Camp and American Football Coaches Association squads. He was a second-team Associated Press All-America selection in 2005 and a member of multiple All-America first teams.From 2003 to 2005, he earned Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year honors, an unprecedented three-year run for a C-USA player. The C-USA Athlete of the Year following his final season, he was named to the C-USA All-Decade Team during the 2004-05 season, the league’s 10th year in operation.

A Doak Walker Award finalist -- an honor given to the nation’s top running back -- as a senior, he played nine seasons with the Carolina Panthers and is the franchise’s single-season rushing leader with 1,515 yards. He is the second-leading rusher in Panthers’ history (6,846 yards).Williams played his final two NFL seasons with the Steelers. Overall, he had four NFL playoff appearances – three with Carolina and one with Pittsburgh.

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