No. 8 – Grambling State quarterback D.J. Williams
Some would conclude Grambling State won the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship despite, not because of, the play of quarterback D.J. Williams.
His 2011 regular season numbers would probably bear that out (1,102 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions in completing 50 percent of his passes).
And Williams’ championship game line against Alabama A&M was no better either as he went 4-of-16 for 100 yards passing, one touchdown and one pick.
The then freshman quarterback struggled mightily at times to the point where there was a demand for backup Frank Rivers to take snaps to salvage the season after a disastrous 1-4 start.
But Williams’ coach and father, Doug Williams, stuck with the kid through all the criticism even when the Tigers trailed Alabama A&M 15-0 in the conference title game. A contest they would go onto win 16-15.
The elder Williams is hoping that trust will result in a much improved 2012 season for the second-year quarterback.
“The good thing is he’s been around the game a lot longer than most guys,” Doug Williams said.”We have a great understanding (about our relationship). on the field.”
Even though Williams lost leading receiver Mario Lewis, he still will have preseason SWAC Offensive Player of the Year running back Dawrence Roberts and solid offensive line at his disposal to take some of the pressure off.