By Dick Dornan
MyBurbank Sports Editor
The numbers are staggering.
School record 2,978 career yards
School record 9.42 yards per carry
School record 15 100-yard rushing games
School record 35 career rushing touchdowns
School record 22 rushing touchdowns in a single season (2013)
School record 2,307 all-purpose yards in a single season (2013)
School record 278 rushing yards vs. Crescenta Valley; single game record (2013)
James Williams accomplished those illustrious records despite playing in less than two games this past fall. A torn ACL shut down what would have been a historic season for the record books and a memorable senior campaign.
Yet Williams never quite experienced what occurred Wednesday afternoon during a special lunchtime ceremony on the Burbank High quad in his honor. This day trumped all records.
Years of hard work and dedication were rewarded with one simple yet meaningful signature of his. February 4 was National Signing Day for athletes to firmly commit to the college of their choice. Williams stayed true to his word and made his verbal to Washington State back in June a reality.
In front of his parents, family members, Coach Richard Broussard, Principal Michael Bertram, Assistant Principal for Athletics Matt LaBelle, friends and teammates, Williams officially became a Wazzou Cougar when he signed his National Letter of Intent.
It was a day that he would never forget.
“This means a lot. This is by far one of the best days of my life,” Williams said. “I’m really excited. I can’t wait to get started.”
Broussard, who has mentored and guided Williams during his high school career, walked around campus with his head high while his star tailback basked in the spotlight surrounded by everyone who was a part of his high school career.
“I’m beaming right now,” Broussard said. “He’s been through so much. We all know the story. To have his season cut short and still have Wazzou stick with him is an honor. To get to this day is a blessing.”
Williams will make the northern trek to Pullman, Washington, during the summer to begin his journey at the collegiate level. People in the Northwest are getting a talented athlete who is worth the price of admission.
“I expect him to go out there and play,” said Broussard. “I know the work ethic of this kid. He will be ready to go. It’s going to be fun.”
Williams was rated a 3-star athlete by Rivals.com and Scout.com. He was the 99th rated player in California and the 53rd ranked running back in the country.
A 3-year varsity letterman, Williams was the Pacific League Offensive MVP for two consecutive seasons. He was also a two-time All-CIF recipient.
On this day, accolades were set aside and reality set in. James Williams is on his way to play Division I football for Washington State University.
“I’ve been dreaming about this since I was six,” said Williams.
Read our article on James when he first committed to WSU in June-