Ryan Williams' performance against Miami added to the speculation that the redshirt sophomore may enter the NFL Draft at season's end. We've already discussed the possibility of Williams' early departure extensively. This week, Williams and Darren Evans were further pressed about their futures by Virginia Tech's beat writers.
It would be nice if this issue would go away until after the bowl game or at the very least after the ACC Championship Game. However, it doesn't look like it will as long as Williams and Evans keep churning out quality performances so there's no sense in hiding from it.
Williams told the media he would feel a lot better about his decision to leave if he was projected to be a first-round draft pick. Evans said he's focusing on getting his degree, but would at least submit paperwork to the NFL advisory committee. After the jump, we'll take a look at what the writers are saying about Williams, Evans and the possibility one or both could be playing their last games in Lane Stadium this Saturday.
While it is difficult to imagine Williams being a projected first-round pick by anybody right now, he certainly ran like his old self in last Saturday’s win at Miami: 14 carries for 142 yards and an 84-yard touchdown. It was his most total yards of the season, surpassing 91 against James Madison, the week before he got hurt. And 10.7 yards per carry at Miami was his best of 2010, surpassing 5.5 from the previous week against North Carolina, when he ran 15 times for 83 yards.
They could also both stay, which seemed unthinkable not so long ago. Evans missed all of last season with an ACL injury and, because of Tech’s three-tailback rotation this season, hasn’t put up monster numbers this fall. Williams, who was a lock to leave, partially tore a hamstring and missed a month of the season ... and didn’t get back up to full speed until last week.
Williams emphasized Tuesday that he likely would return to college if he didn't get assurances that he'd be a first-round NFL draft pick. It sounds like, at the very least, Williams is going to put his name into the NFL's advisory committee after the college season is over so that he can get a reading on what NFL personnel officials think about his draft status.
Williams is no longer included on ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper’s first-round board, but Kiper does rank him No. 3 on the list of underclassmen tailbacks, behind Alabama’s Mark Ingram and Oregon’s LaMichael James.