(Photo by BYU Creative Design)
PHILADELPHIA – BYU running back Jamaal Williams was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the fourth round with the 134th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft on Saturday in Philadelphia.
“I’m excited for Jamaal and I know he is prepared to play at the next level,” BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said. “His style and abilities as a tough, decisive runner and good pass protector will translate extremely well to the NFL game. He can do it all and is a great person and teammate. I look forward to following his NFL career."
With his selection, Williams becomes the fourth BYU running back and 28th Cougar offensive player to be selected in one of the first four rounds of the annual NFL Draft. The 6-foot, 212-pound running back is the 50th BYU player to be taken in one of the first four rounds and the 14th former Cougar to be a fourth-round pick. The last BYU player taken in the fourth round was consensus All-America tight end Dennis Pitta, who went 114th overall to the Baltimore Ravens in the 2010 draft. Overall, Williams is the 140th player from BYU to be selected in any round of the NFL Draft and follows last year’s selection of Bronson Kaufusi by the Ravens (3rd round, 70th overall).
Williams joins Scott Phillips (1981, 4th Round, Seattle), Todd Christensen (1978, 2nd Round, Dallas) and Pete Van Valkenburg (1973, 3rd Round, New Orleans) as the only BYU running backs selected in one of the opening four rounds of the annual NFL Draft.
The last BYU running back drafted was Harvey Unga by the Chicago Bears in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Supplemental Draft, while the most recent running back selected in the regular draft was Fui Vakapuna, a seventh-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009.
Williams is the fifth BYU player to be selected by the Packers. The last selection was linebacker Brady Poppinga in the fourth round in 2005. Current BYU offensive coordinator Ty Detmer was drafted by Green Bay in 1992 (9th round), along with quarterback Robbie Bosco in 1986 (3rd round) and end Gayland (Mike) Mills in 1948 (31st round).
Williams enters the NFL after a record-breaking season where he became the school’s career rushing leader with 726 carries and 3,901 yards. He also has the most 100-yard games with 16 and ranks No. 3 in rushing touchdowns (35), No. 5 in all-purpose yards (4,468) and No. 10 in total points scored (216). In 786 total touches, Williams lost just two fumbles in his career.
His 2016 campaign featured 1,375 rushing yards in just 10 games, including a single-game record 286 yards vs. Toledo. Williams tied the school record with five touchdowns in the game. He posted six games over 100 yards in 2016 and his 137.5 yards per game ranked No. 5 nationally in 2016.
He also topped the 1,000-yard mark as a sophomore in 2013, making him only the fourth BYU player to have multiple 1,000-yard seasons. As a freshman in 2012, Williams set records for true freshman backs at BYU with 166 carries, 775 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Williams was named to the Doak Walker Award watch list as a sophomore, junior and senior. He was named to Sports Illustrated’s 2016 Midseason All-America Second Team and was also a four-time Phil Steele All-Independent selection. As a freshman, Williams was selected as the Independent Freshman of the Year by College Sports Madness.
From Fontana, California, Williams graduated from BYU with a degree in sociology.