Position: Running Back
Years: 2002 to 2005
DeAngelo Chondon Williams was an talented, record-setting running back at the University of Memphis during the mid-2000s. Highly recruited from Wynne, Arkansas, where he was named All-State in 2000, Williams set school record after record. He ran for over 1,000 yards as a junior, and racked up 2,204 yards and 34 touchdowns, leading Wynne to the state chamapionship. Arriving at Memphis, Williams led the team in offense as a freshman in 2002, rushing for 684 yards, five touchdowns, on a 6.6 yards per rush average. He saw action in only ten games due to a knee injury, and the Tigers felt the effects, slumping to a 3-9 mark. In 2003, Williams ran for 1,430 yards, setting a school record eight consecutive 100-yard games. He also caught 35 passes for 384 yards, and 13 total touchdowns. His unique pass catching ability out of the backfield made him a distinct threat against any defense. Memphis received a New Orleans Bowl bid, and beat North Texas, 27-17. The Tigers’ nine wins was their most since 1963, when they posted an unbeaten 9-0-1 season. His junior and senior campaigns turned out to be his most productive yet. Williams ran for nearly 2,000 yards each year (1,948 and 1,964 respectively), scoring 22 and 18 touchdowns, respectively. He totaled over 6,000 rushing yards for his career, 6.2 yards per carry, and 55 rushing touchdowns, all school records. Williams’ 34 career 100-yard rushing games and 7,573 all-purpose yards are NCAA records. His exceptional production led him to first-team all-american status in 2005. Drafted 27th overall in 2005, he went on to an eleven year career in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers and Pittsburgh Steelers. Williams twice led the league in rushing touchdowns (2008, 2015), recorded two 1,000 yard rushing campaigns, and was a 2009 Pro Bowl selection. He finished his NFL career with 10,202 yards from scrimmage and 70 total touchdowns.
Years: 1974 to 1977
Known for his rough, hard-hitting tackling, Keith Butler was a strong defensive presence for Memphis during the mid-1970s. Butler was a four year starter at outside linebacker, who seemed to be all over the field. He was always a competitive player, learning it from his father growing up. At the conclusion of his collegiate career, he totaled 384 tackles, 226 solo, and 158 assisted hits. Each of which were most in school history at the time. Butler also picked off seven passes and recovered a fumble. In his four years, Memphis won 27 games, the most in such a time span in over a decade. Butler was defensive captain for his senior season in 1977, leading the team to a 6-5 record, which included wins over Mississippi State, Virginia Tech, and a 42-14 blowout over rival Southern Miss. His success earned him selection as an Associated Press All-American. Upon graduation, Butler embarked on a ten-year NFL career with the Seattle Seahawks. He played in 146 games, recorded four sacks, and eight interceptions. He served as a defensive captain for five seasons. The Seahawks made the playoffs three times (1983, 1984, 1987) and won double-digit games twice (1984, 1986). He returned to Memphis in 1990 as a defensive coach. Butler innovated with the 3-4 defense, earning his first NFL job with the Cleveland Browns in 1999. He joined the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013 and has served as their defensive coordinator since 2015. Pittsburgh has boasted a top ten defensive unit in three of the past four seasons, largely due to Butler’s schemes and personnel adjustments. In 1989 he was inducted to the M Club Hall-of-Fame at the University of Memphis, and to the Tennessee Sports Hall-of-Fame in 2000.
Article written by Matthew Keddie (CFRA Member/Contributor)