NORMAN — Wrapping up our look at the top 15 Oklahoma football players in the Bob Stoops era, we remember “Superman,” the hard hitting Sooner safety who, in many ways, changed the way his position was played before becoming a first-round NFL Draft selection and five-time Pro Bowler with the Dallas Cowboys.
Jersey No.: 38
Years played: 1998-2001
Hometown: Union City, Calif.
Big 12 championships: 1
National championships: 1
Individual awards won: 2001 Nagurski Award (best defender); 2001 Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back).
Notable: Came to Oklahoma from Union City, Calif., along with high school teammate Damien Mackey, a wide receiver. … Williams originially planned to attend UCLA, with Mackey headed to Stanford, but after the latter suffered an injury and lost many of his scholarship offers, the duo decided on Oklahoma together. … Played some as a true freshman in 1998 under John Blake before a back injury ended his season and forced a medical redshirt. … Started the final five games of the 1999 season at safety after playing the first part of the year at dimeback. … Named an All-Big 12 safety in 2000, when he helped the Sooners win the national championship. … Recorded 93 tackles (58 unassisted), 12 tackles for loss, four sacks, two interceptions, nine pass deflections and six quarterback hurries that season before the Sooners’ Orange Bowl victory over Florida State. … Was named a consensus first-team All-American after his junior season in 2001. … Finished seventh in the 2001 Heisman Trophy voting, the highest of any non-quarterback that year. … Skipped his senior season to enter the 2002 NFL Draft, in which he went eighth overall in the first round to the Dallas Cowboys. … Was selected for five straight Pro Bowls between 2003 and 2007.
THREE MEMORABLE GAMES
Oklahoma 13, Florida State 2
When: Jan. 3, 2001
Where: Pro Player Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.
Williams’ day: Played a pivotal role on a Sooner defense that held Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Chris Weinke and Florida State’s prolific offense to zero points — the Seminoles’ two points came on a late safety, when a long snap sailed over punter Jeff Ferguson’s head. … With 8:30 left in the fourth quarter and OU clinging to a 6-0 lead, linebacker Rocky Calmus rocked Weinke and forced a fumble, recovered by Williams deep in FSU territory. Two plays later, Quentin Griffin scored the game’s only touchdown.
Oklahoma 38, Kansas State 37
When: Sept. 29, 2001
Where: Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman
Williams’ day: Recorded nine tackles. … Returned a fumble 18 yards for the game’s first touchdown in the first quarter, a score that turned out to be crucial as the Wildcats’ fought back from a huge deficit in the second half.
Oklahoma 14, Texas 3
When: Oct. 6, 2001
Where: Cotton Bowl Stadium, Dallas
Williams’ day: With just over two minutes remaining and OU clinging to a 7-3 lead, Williams disobeyed orders from his coaches, diving over the blocking back to hit Texas quarterback Chris Simms as he released a pass deep in his own territory. The ball fell into linebacker Teddy Lehman’s arms for the game-clinching touchdown. … A few plays later, Williams grabbed the Sooner defense’s fourth interception of the game.