COLUMBIA – Mike Davis has deservedly gotten the spotlight in South Carolina’s backfield, but the Gamecocks could debut their highly-touted freshman running back Saturday night against Kentucky.
Freshman David Williams was brought up to the varsity this week, trying to add depth to USC’s backfield after sophomore Brandon Wilds dislocated his left elbow Saturday at Central Florida. Wilds is expected to miss about a month. Williams, along with sophomore Shon Carson, could get an opportunity to run the football behind Davis.
USC’s workhorse tailback was impressed with what he’s seen from the freshman this week in practice.
“David is built like Adrian Peterson,” Davis said. “He’s fast. He’s big. He ran a 4.3 (second 40-yard dash). And, also, he loves contact and likes running people over. So, overall, if you ask me, he’s the same type of person as Adrian Peterson.”
It’s a lofty comparison, far too weighty of an expectation for any true freshman. Peterson, the 2012 NFL MVP, is among the greatest running backs to ever play college football. His freshman season at Oklahoma, when Peterson ran for 1,925 yards and 15 touchdowns, was among the greatest college seasons for any running back.
The physical measurements don’t quite align right, either. At 6-foot, 200 pounds, Williams is about one inch shorter and 10 pounds lighter than Peterson played at Oklahoma.
Still, Davis’ comparison is an example of the kind of hype surrounding the freshman. Williams, a consensus four-star prospect and top 10 running back nationally according to 247Sports, rushed for 1,904 yards and 23 touchdowns as a senior at Imhotep Charter in Philadelphia, Penn.
He’s expected to do similar things at USC. But, even if he debuts Saturday, his time to shine will likely have to wait. With Davis leading the SEC in rushing, Williams’ role will be complementary. He’ll be expected to provide depth and support in the Gamecocks’ running game.
Davis thinks Williams is capable of doing that – and then some.
“I’ve seen a lot out of David,” Davis said. “David is ready to go. He’s learning. He has fresh legs, so he’s out here running around wild.”