From the 2001 through 2004 football seasons, he was a standout college running back. His 80-yard touchdown run against Alabama in 2003 is one of the greatest plays in Iron Bowl history. As a first-round NFL draft pick in 2005, he achieved his goal of playing professional football. And, a decade after his final season with the Tigers – Auburn’s 13-0 perfect season in 2004 – he achieved another goal: completing his college degree.
Since his initial recruiting visit, Williams considered Auburn to be an extension of his own family. “I knew in my heart that this was the place where I wanted to attend school,” he said.
When drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2005, Williams lacked just a few credit hours to complete his degree in sociology. In the years that followed, he played seven NFL seasons, married Evan Christina ’04 (an English major who he met his freshman year), and recently had a son. And nearly a decade after his final season at Auburn, he returned home to finish what he started.
Williams’ success at Auburn, balancing the academic expectations of a student and the physical demands of an athlete, laid a strong foundation for life and shaped him into the man he is today. His experiences in the classroom and on the field, made possible in large part through generous donor support, provided Carnell with memories of and interactions with thousands of members of the Auburn Family. These memories eventually called him home to fulfill his personal goals for himself — and his family.