Tag Archives: Washington State football

James Williams Already Well Known at Washington State

James Williams still has lots of playing time left at Washington State University.

The redshirt sophomore and former Burbank High star running back made a significant impact last season and his coach and teammates have even higher expectations for him this season.

Head coach Mike Leach, fellow running back Jamal Morrow and linebacker Peyton Pelluer were on hand for Pacific-12 Conference Football Media Day Thursday at Hollywood and Highland to share their thoughts about Williams and the Cougars’ upcoming season. Washington State opens its season Sept. 3 at home against Montana State, the first of five consecutive home games. The Cougars will not play any regular season games in Southern California this season.

After going 8-5 last season, Washington State has many returners, led by quarterback Luke Falk. Also included are his top three in the backfield, where Williams shared time with seniors Morrow and Gerard Wicks. Last season Williams had 102 carries for 584 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. He also had 48 receptions for 342 yards and one touchdown. His 953 all-purpose yards were second on the team behind Morrow’s 1,063.

“He’s a focused guy. If you’re in a bad mood, just hang around James. He’s always in a good mood,” Leach said. “He plays hard and works hard. The most important thing is he really loves football. James is real talented. I think he’s going to get better and better and better. He got a lot of reps last year and I think he’ll get even more this year.”

Pelleur said he is glad he doesn’t have to play against Williams on Saturdays.

Burbank High’s James Williams should have another big season at Washington State. (photo courtesy of Washington State University).

“I can tell you first hand that he is tough to tackle. He’s probably the slipperiest player we have on the team,” the senior linebacker said. “He gives me a headache and makes me look foolish sometimes. But he makes everyone better because of how hard he plays and how hard he runs. We’re definitely fortunate to have him on our team. I’m excited to see what he’s going to do this year. He’s had a great summer so far. He had a great spring as well. We’re excited to see him make moves on opponents instead of us for once.”

Morrow, who has shared playing time with Williams, said he likes many things about the former Bulldog.

“James is a character. He’s always going to make you laugh,” Morrow said. “You could have a bad day and you see James and you’ve got to smile when you see him. He brings a certain energy to our running back group. He’s a funny guy. You have to love him, especially the stuff he does on the field. Like the Oregon State play when he had two spin moves on one play and I was like ‘wow’. He’s definitely going to be a stud in this conference.”

Even though Morrow has more experience, he said he has learned from Williams.

“You just can’t tackle the kid. He’s always going to make the first guy miss,” Morrow said. “You look at the stuff he does and you’re like let me try to incorporate that into my game.”

Leach said he has liked some of the things he has seen from Williams in practice, even dating back to last season. Williams redshirted his true freshman year after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his left knee as a senior at Burbank.

He (went) out there as a freshman and he’s kind of showing up some of the older defensive players,” Leach said of some practices. “They tried to hit him hard. He wasn’t even aware of it. He wasn’t aware that they were ticked off at him.”

James Williams while at Burbank High.

Leach said Williams played with a broken hand last season, but was still used in passing situations.

“I got worried about it, but he hit the club hand and he’d catch it anyway,” Leach said.

Morrow said he has seen Williams grow in so many ways in the two years he has known him.

“That redshirt year helped him a lot. He got his strength back and his confidence back,” Morrow said. “If you would have seen him when he first got up here, he was like thinking too much. He wasn’t sure. He was thinking about his knee. He came back that spring and had one of the greatest springs I’ve seen since I’ve been up here. In the summer, he’s looking fast and strong. We expect big things from him this year.”




Burbank High’s James Williams Is Back, Stronger Than Ever

It has been a long time since James Williams has played in an official football game.

Williams last suited up Sept. 5, 2014, the second game of his senior year at Burbank High when he tore his medial collateral ligament and anterior cruciate ligament.

Fast forward two years and the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Williams is ready to help Washington State University as it seeks to improve on a 9-4 mark in 2015, which saw the Cougars go 6-3 in Pacific-12 Conference play.

“I don’t really think about it,” Williams said of the injury.  “It took a year to get back in shape and I used my redshirt year to get stronger. I feel 100 percent.  I’m stronger than I ever was.”

James Williams looks to get some significant playing time. (Photo courtesy of Washington State University).

James Williams looks to get some significant playing time. (Photo courtesy of Washington State University).

Williams, who played tailback at Burbank, could see time in a number of roles as a redshirt freshman.  In Washington State’s Spring Game in April, Williams raised some eyebrows as he had six carries for 42 yards and scored one touchdown.

“I’m going to do whatever I can to help us win whether that’s running the ball, catching the ball, picking up blocks, (or) playing special teams,” Williams said. “I just want to help Washington State win.”

Although he is far away from Burbank, Williams still keeps in close contact with those at home.

“I talk to coach Brew (Richard Broussard) every once in a while,” Williams said. “We talk about (how) Burbank’s camp is going and also how I’m doing.”

Williams’ interest in Burbank is enhanced because his younger brother Darnell is a junior running back for the Bulldogs. Darnell earned second-team all-league honors last season.

“He sends me clips all the time of his practices so I give him tips and suggestions every day,” Williams said of his brother.

Williams will not get the opportunity to play USC this season and the game against UCLA is at Washington State. Thus, he will not have a chance to come play in front of family and friends this season.

“We will be back in SoCal in the next couple of years to play USC and UCLA, so I will get excited to come home and play when those games come along,” Williams said.

Getting an opportunity to play for a team with lofty expectations is something that Williams is looking forward to.

Washington State is ranked No. 18 in Sports Illustrated’s preseason poll.

“We are very excited for this season,” Williams said. “We had a good season and are looking to build off a good year and I am looking to contribute however I can so we can win as many games as possible.”

Washington State opens the season Sept. 3 at home against Eastern Washington University.



Burbank’s James Williams Signs Letter of Intent to Washington State

James Williams signs his National Letter of Intent for Washington State University (Photo By Edward Tovmassian)

James Williams signs his National Letter of Intent for Washington State University (Photo By Edward Tovmassian)

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)

With his parents, brother and sister by his side, James prepares to FAX over his LOI to Wazzou (Photo By Edward Tovmassian)

With his parents, brother and sister by his side, James prepares to FAX over his LOI to Wazzou (Photo By Edward Tovmassian)

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.

Assistant Principal of Athletics Matt La Belle (lt) and Burbank High held a signing ceremony in honor of James (Photo By Edward Tovmassian)

Assistant Principal of Athletics Matt La Belle (lt) and Burbank High held a signing ceremony in honor of James (Photo By Edward Tovmassian)

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.”

James Williams re-wrote the record books for Burbank Football (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

James Williams re-wrote the record books for Burbank Football (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

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-