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Notre Dame Football

Scouting the Roster: Dexter Williams

June 14, 2017

Player name:  Dexter Williams

Player position:  Running back

Years left of eligibility:  2

Projected rank on depth chart:  Reserve

Player productivity so far: 2016:  39 carries, 200 yards. 4.3 ypc, 2 TDs.  2015:  21 carries, 81 yards, 3.9 yards, 1 TD

What the player does best:  Dexter is definitely Notre Dame’s most explosive and agile running back.  Williams has great burst to get through traffic quickly.  He moves very well left to right, and can turn effortlessly inside a hole.  He has very good running instincts and feels holes opening and finds the creases to hit up inside.  He has more than enough speed to be effective running outside the tackles as well.  He has very good top end speed, which is comparable to Josh Adams, although Adams takes longer to get up to full speed compared to Williams.  Williams can run for power, and has a good-sized running back body, listed at 5-11, 205 pounds.  

What the player needs to work on:   Williams has not shown to be a good receiver out of the backfield, but I will say he showed marked and considerable improvement in this area this spring.  He caught the football very well.  With Williams, it’s the little things.  Blitz pickup, being in the right places at all times.  Being productive when given a chance.  At times Williams seems to want to hit the home run when the smart move is to get the sure 6 yards.  What he really needs is some considerable reps.  Will he get them this fall?  
Irish Sports Daily Dexter Williams

Productivity of former Irish players and the top players in the country at player’s position:  Again, Williams is fighting for the No. 2 spot most likely at this point heading into the season.  So, I wanted to look at No. 2 backs.  He compares more favorably with this group in running style and strengths than Tony Jones, Jr. did when we looked at the same players.  Who will be the No. 2 back?  We will have to see.  

2015  Josh Adams (ND):  3 starts, 117 carries, 835 yards, 7.1 ypc, 6 TDs

2016  Chris Evans (Mich):  88 carries, 614 yards, 7 ypc, 4 TDs

2016  Curtis Samuel (Ohio State):  97 carries, 771 yards, 7.9 ypc, 8 TDs

2016  Bryce Love (Stan) 112 carries, 779 yards, 7.0 ypc, 3 TD

2016  Justin Davis (USC) 110 carries, 607 yards, 5.5 ypc, 2 TDs

What can we hope for?  I’m a big Dexter Williams fan.  He’s kind of in a tough spot.  He has two other very talented running backs he’s competing with.  If Williams had gone to say, Iowa, I believe he’d challenge for an All-Big 10 honors.  He just needs a chance and to be given the carries.  Unlike Jones, Jr., he has that extra gear to finish runs.  Where Jones may pick up 25 yards, Williams can finish the run and get the extra 25.  The Florida native is a highly motivated player who is going to push the pack because he’s hungry for carries.  If he earns the No. 2 job, I don’t think it’s out of the question he’ll log 100 carries, 700 yards and 5 TDs.  

What is a realistic expectation?  For some reason, I just don’t think Williams will get enough chances to impress.  I will feel bad for him if that is how it ends up because I think he’s a guy with a lot of potential who just needs some carries to show that.  If he ends up being the 3rd back again, I think we’re looking at around 40 carries, 250 yards, 2 TDs.  I think it would be a waste of his talent, but there is only one football, and a lot of players worthy of touching it.  Williams is certainly one, but I’m going to guess he won’t get it enough to really showcase what he can do.  

What about the future?  The good news for the junior running back is he has two full seasons.  My guess is if Josh Adams holds onto the starting spot this year, he’ll likely be gone after this year.  He will have three solid seasons of college football and the hits that come with it, and really nothing left to prove at that point.  In that case, the future could be Dexter Williams’ opportunity to finally show what he can do.  Or, he may be tired of waiting and able to graduate and move on to places he can be assured carries.   He should have a good shot to showcase what he can do next year if this year isn’t the year for him.  Hopefully that will be at Notre Dame because I think he has the talent to be a very productive back at this level.  

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