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Heisman Contenders, Start Your Engines

Memphis publicity machine revs up for DeAngelo Williams

The University of Memphis knows a good thing when it sees it. In this case, the school's athletic department is seizing the opportunity to promote All-America running back DeAngelo Williams (right) as a contender for the 2005 Heisman Trophy. [Photo: Memphis Athletics]


East Carolina's football team and its fans will get their chance to judge DeAngelo Williams' Heisman credentials in person when the Pirates battle Memphis in Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on Oct. 22 in a Conference USA game.

  • View ECU's complete 2005 schedule.
  • View U of M's complete 2005 schedule.

From a Memphis Athletics report

The University of Memphis has declared that it is poised at the starting line and officially ready to enter its star player in the race for the 2005 Heisman Trophy.

Jennifer Rodrigues, the school's Athletic Media Relations Director, is spearheading a campaign that links DeAngelo Williams to the ever-popular sport of auto racing and places the senior at the starting line of the greatest race of his career.

In preparation for this nationwide campaign, Rodrigues ordered over 3,500 1:24 scale die-cast race cars with a special DeAngelo Williams paint scheme, created by Fallout Design of Memphis.

The cars, produced by Action Performance Companies, are expected to arrive in Memphis in late July and will be immediately mailed to Heisman voters around the country.

The University has also constructed a Web site that features a video introduction highlighting Williams, along with his updated statistics, biography and photographs. A postcard will be included in the mail-out that will direct national media writers and Heisman voters to the Web site (

Williams was named to the 2005 Playboy All-America Team and the preseason All-America first team.

Williams, a senior tailback, jumped into the Heisman Trophy race in January of 2005 when he announced at a press conference that he would return to the Tigers for his senior season instead of entering the NFL Draft. He had been projected to be a late first round selection in the 2005 draft.

The record-setting back rushed for 1,948 yards and led the nation with 22 rushing touchdowns last season. He was featured weekly among the leaders in virtually every NCAA rushing, all-purpose yardage and scoring category, and completed his junior season ranked second in the nation in rushing yardage, second in all-purpose yardage and second in scoring.

Combining power and speed, Williams has amassed 4,062 career rushing yards, 5,498 career all-purpose yards and has scored 41 total touchdowns.

Leading Memphis to back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time in school history, the Wynne, AR, native garnered national attention by being named the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year for the second-consecutive season in 2004.

His other honors last season included selection to the All-America teams of Asssociated Press, and Pro Football Weekly All-America and being named semifinalist for the Doak Walker and Maxwell awards.

Since the conclusion of last season, honors have continued to roll in for the 5-foot-10, 217-pound back. Williams traveled to Los Angeles in January as a finalist for the John Wooden Cup and was presented an Award of Distinction by the Touchdown Club of Columbus (OH). He was tabbed the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Amateur Athlete of the Year in March and was selected the Tennessee Sports Writers Player of the Year for 2004.

ESPN's Mel Kiper has tabbed Williams as "one of the top five players to be selected in the 2006 NFL Draft and the No. 1 running back to be taken," while CBS Sportsline has rated Williams as the No. 3 player to be drafted in April of 2006.

From a Memphis Athletics report. Copyright 2005. All rights rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Page updated: 02/23/07 01:50 PM



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