(Photo via UT Athletics)
Austin – Former Texas running back Ricky Williams was selected for induction into the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame, the NFF announced during a press conference in Dallas on Friday.
"Making the College Football Hall of Fame is a lifelong dream," Williams said. "I was a huge college football fan growing up and always had a dream of winning the Heisman Trophy. That was a tremendous honor, and now to be going into the Hall of Fame with all of the greatest players that have ever played, it's just an unbelievable feeling. It kind of feels like a culmination of my college football career and brings back so many great memories."
Williams is the Longhorns' 18th player and 20th overall inductee (including coaches D. X. Bible and Darrell Royal) into the College Football Hall of Fame.
"When Steve (Hatchell) called to give me the news, I was really excited," Williams said. "We had a great conversation, and when he told me the ceremony wasn't until December, I realized it was going to be a great year. Knowing that this is an honor that I'll be reminded of all year long is really special. It will give me a lot of time to reflect and appreciate all of the coaches, teammates, family and friends that helped me have so much success."
A two-time unanimous first-team All-American and the 1998 Heisman Trophy winner, Williams was a four-year starter for Texas (1995-98) who completed his career with 21 NCAA and 46 school records. He led Texas to the final SWC Championship (1995) and the first-ever Big 12 title (1996). Williams was a unanimous first-team All-American as a junior and senior, along with being a two-time Doak Walker Award winner as the nation's top running back. Additionally, he was named the Maxwell Award winner and was voted national player of the year by the Walter Camp Football Foundation, Associated Press and Sporting News in 1998.
The San Diego native was a three-time first-team All Big-12 choice and won back-to-back NCAA rushing titles in 1997 and 1998. He led the nation in scoring in 1997 and was a close second in 1998. When he finished his career at Texas, Williams' 6,279 rushing yards, 72 rushing TDs, 75 total TDs, 452 points, 33 games with a TD, 11 career 200-yard games, and 6.2 yards per carry were all NCAA all-time records. He also broke the NCAA all-purpose yardage record with 7,206 yards despite never returning a punt or kickoff. Williams eclipsed Tony Dorsett's more than two-decade-old NCAA rushing record with 259 yards in the Horns 26-24 regular season victory over Texas A&M in 1998.
Williams was selected in the first round (fifth overall) in the 1999 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints and went on to play 12 seasons. He is one of just 26 players in NFL history to rush for more than 10,000 career yards, totaling 10,009 yards and 66 rushing TDs. He also had 342 receptions for 2,606 receiving yards.
The new tradition of announcing the College Football Hall of Fame inductees on the Friday before the national title game will have no impact on the induction ceremonies, which will continue to take place during the NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City at the Waldorf Astoria, and the 2015 class will be inducted Dec. 8, 2015.