JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Kentucky junior running back Stanley “Boom” Williams (pictured) will forego his final season of eligibility and enter this spring’s National Football League Draft, he announced on Saturday, Dec. 31 after the Wildcats completed their 2016 season in the TaxSlayer Bowl.
Williams, from Monroe, Ga., finishes his collegiate career with 2,511 rushing yards, which ranks seventh on the school’s career rushing list. He had an explosive final season in leading the Cats with 1,170 rushing yards, making him just the ninth player in school history to surpass 1,000 yards in a season.
“There were a lot of things that played into that (decision),” Williams said. “Me and my family talked last night, just finalized the decision last night and told Coach Stoops after the game. It wasn’t an easy decision; it was very tough. I was stuck in a hard place in whether I wanted to come back or whether I wanted to leave. At the end of the day, we came to the decision to leave for the NFL.”
Williams leaves as one of Kentucky’s most accomplished backs. He owns the top two single-season averages per rush attempt, finishing at 7.10 yards per rush in 2015 and 6.84 this season. He ranks 11th on the school’s all-time career rushing touchdowns with 18 and fourth in career 100-yard games with 11. Williams’ seven rushing touchdowns of at least 50 yards are the most for a Wildcat dating back to 1955.
The 5-foot-9, 196-pounder tallied 3,314 career all-purpose yards, including 38 receptions for 292 yards and two touchdowns, and 511 kickoff return yards. He had a career-high 195 all-purpose yards, including a career-high 182 rushing yards, at Missouri on Oct. 29, 2016.
“Boom and I had several discussions, and met with his family, and I gave them the information I had received from the NFL,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said. “He and his family decided the best time was now and he notified me after my press conference (following the bowl game).
“I appreciate all of Boom’s efforts for this program and what he’s meant to this team, the great player that he is. I wish him nothing but success in the future. He’ll always be part of the Wildcat family.”
Photo by Jamie H. Vaught