DeAngelo Williams is quietly becoming one of the great Carolina Panthers in the franchise’s short history.
Drafted in 2006 with the 27th pick of the draft, the Panthers were fortunate to select the running back out of Memphis. Many had Williams as a top 10 pick; but due to FA signings and teams’ needs, Williams fell to the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers could not have been luckier!
To grasp how good D’Will (what true Panther fans call DeAngelo Williams) was in college, here are a few focal points of his college career:
- William’s holds the NCAA Division 1 record for 100 yd rushing games with 34
- Ranks 4th All Time on the NCAA Rushing list
- In the 2005 Motor City Bowl, Williams rushed for 238 yds and 3 touchdowns–setting a Motor City Bowl rushing record.
Not only was Williams one of the best college running backs of All-Time, he practically holds every Memphis rushing record while being one of the few to have their jersey retired by the university.
His success doesn’t stop there.
Throughout his first 8 seasons D’Will has only rushed for less than 400 yds once, and that being due to injury. Here is another short list of Williams contributions to the Panthers:
- 1st All-Time Panthers Rusher: 6,627 yds
- 3rd All-Time Scoring: 322 pts
- 6th All-Time Panther Receiver: 1577 yds
As you can see, Williams is having a very successful football career. If he can stay healthy while splitting carries with other great running backs such as Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert, and other youngsters, there is no telling how much more D’Will can solidify his spot in Carolina Panther history.
But now, on to the important stuff.
Williams has recently stumbled into social media fame with an Instagram post of him giving his seat away to a traveling soldier. Williams states that he tries to always give his seat to a veteran if his seat is better. This is a true sign of being a good person, but it is where Williams comes from that makes these actions mean more.
Williams lost his mother this year to breast cancer. Not only has he lost his mother to breast cancer, but also his four aunts….
With his family’s history of breast cancer, Williams has been a front-runner in the NFL for breast cancer awareness and even broached the subject of wearing pink to the league. Additionally, he has created a charity supporting breast cancer awareness.
Williams has had much more taken from him in life than I will ever know, but he still keeps finding the good in life. Actions like this not only make you proud to be a fan of the Panthers, but creates connections that good play cannot. You now start rooting for the person, rather than the player.
As a Panther fan, I cheer and root for all players new and old; but there is something different about Williams. It’s rare to find athletes that make fans better people along the way, which is exactly what D’Will does for Panther and NFL fans alike.
His actions have caused us to wear more pink and become more aware of the importance of breast cancer screening and early detection.
His lifestyle teaches everyone to give back to our soldiers/people who fight for our freedom and to not take a person in uniform for granted.
And all this with a patented smile that we all love.
DeAngelo, this is a Thank You from all your fans. You are molding current and future Carolina Panthers to be like you. You are the definition of what it means to be a great person and Carolina Panther. With many others that have come before you and the many that will come after, you have helped set the bar high on what it takes to be great — Carolina Panther or not.