The answer is in the question.
Sports Illustrated’s Peter King is chronicling the journey to the NFL Draft through a draft pick. Who did he choose? Not Johnny Manziel, not Tre Mason, not Michael Sam. The Monday Morning Quarterback (MMQB) is chronicling the journey of Boston College’s Andre Williams. Why Andre? He won’t be a first round pick, nor does he bring the media firestorm that Manziel, Mason, or Sam can bring. Is King trying to not get reads? Nobody pays attention to Williams…right?
The answer is in the question. King picked Williams because he won’t make the same mistake twice: He won't undervalue Williams again. Everyone's first mistake was not even thinking of Williams and Boston College before the season began.
BC won its first two games before being smacked by USC and in those three games, Williams had 356 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The next two games put Williams on the map. He rushed for 149 yards against the eventual national champions, Florida State, and then went beast mode on Army, rushing for 263 yards and five touchdowns. After five games, Williams had 768 yards and 7 touchdowns, more than any of his previous seasons.
The Army game made people notice Williams, but notice him in the wrong way. They were waiting for him to fail, and he didn’t. 166 yards/2 touchdowns in a win against Virginia Tech, 295 yards/2 touchdowns against New Mexico State, and 339 yards/2 touchdowns against NC State catapulted Williams into Heisman candidacy. #Andre44Heisman began to trend on Twitter, Williams was in ESPN Studios, doing a tour to promote his candidacy, and Boston College football was back to relevance all on the legs of Williams.
But even with all of this, Mason, Carlos Hyde, Jeremy Hill, and Ka’Deem Carey were all being projected to be picked over Williams and talked about more than Williams. That is, until King did the right thing, what no one else is doing: Talking about Williams.
By featuring Williams, MMQB has given Williams the best opportunity to display his personality and his improvement from the end of senior year all the way to the draft, something no other player received and rightfully so. Williams’ soft demeanor off the field doesn’t speak volumes like many other high profile prospects. Williams allows his powerful play on the field to provide volume.
“I think teams think I can play an integral role in their offense, but certain teams might see me and my style of play and value me as just a situational back,” Williams said to MMQB. “I’d be disappointed if I went somewhere just to fill a role as a situational player, because I can think I can be dynamic and play a starting role.”
Yes Andre, you can play an integral role in an offense and that’s why MMQB is featuring you. Williams is more than a situational player and it would be foolish for teams to continue to relegate him as many have before him. The relegation needs to end here. Period. Williams had an impressive combined performance: 4.56 in the 40 yard dash, 4.06 shuttle, and 38” vertical, and even better Pro Day in the bubble: some scouts clocked his 40 in the low 4.4s and he caught seven of the eight passes thrown by Chase Rettig. And because of this, teams like the New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens, and San Diego Chargers are taking notice.
So, when you wonder why Sports Illustrated is chronicling Williams and not a sure-fire first-round draft pick, the answer is in the question. Sure, he isn’t “box office” nor is he going to be active on social media and partying with Drake. He’s going to work on his game; improve himself for the NFL, work on his philosophical memoir, A King, A Queen, and a Conscience, and tell his story to us through MMQB.
Sports Illustrated is covering Andre Williams because he is Andre Williams, a hard-working football player with the passion to excel and the desire to be a high profile running back in the National Football League. Period.