Texas A&M Football: Trayveon Williams is the 2018 Heisman candidate nobody is talking about

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

When Jimbo Fisher took over Texas A&M football, it should have immediately vaulted Trayveon Williams into the Heisman conversation. It hasn’t, and here’s why it should.

While mostly splitting time in an spread offense that rarely utilizes a such as his, Trayveon Williams flashed brilliance in the rare moments he was allowed in Kevin Sumlin’s offense.

The first time we got a real idea of what Williams could be was very early in his true freshman season. In the first game of the year, he had 15 carries for 94 yards against UCLA. Then, he did this:

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That’s 18-year old Williams ripping off a 89-yard touchdown AT Auburn in the third game of his career. He had 11 touches for 157 yards and the one touchdown. It was clear, at that moment, this kid had something special.

He finished the 2016 season with 1,057 yards at 6.8 yards per carry — among the best in the nation. With the offensive line being very inconsistent (nine players shuffled through the entire season) and just not as good, and the Aggies playing from behind more often, Williams’ numbers regressed in 2017.  He ended the year with 798 yards rushing at 4.6 yards per carry.

This is all while splitting time with Keith Ford, who signed as an undrafted free agent with the Buffalo Bills after the 2018 NFL Draft.

Even if Sumlin had returned, you should have expected a bounce-back year from Williams. The offensive line is returning basically all but their left tackle, and are well-equipped to replace Koda Martin, who transferred to Syracuse. Jim Turner is one of the best in the business at developing offensive linemen; he stuck around for Jimbo Fisher because of that.

Speaking of Fisher, his offense is much more suited for a feature back to flourish. It’s a pro-style offense that expects running backs to get down hill and the offensive line to be physical up front. It’s much better suited to close out games. I shouldn’t need to tell you how much Sumlin struggled in that regard.

Williams is special. With more touches coming his way, he is definitely going to rack up the stats. It’s why he’s the 2018 Heisman candidate nobody is talking about, but should be. He had over 2000 yards from scrimmage in two seasons as the 1a to Ford’s 1b. As clearly the most talented and experienced remaining on A&M’s roster, Fisher will lean heavily on Williams in 2018.

Fisher put a few running backs in the NFL and they have mostly been successful. Here are the numbers for his backs while at Florida State.

SeasonRBsYards from Scrimmage
2017Cam Akers + Jacques Patrick2,060
2016Dalvin Cook2,253
2015Dalvin Cook1,935
2014Dalvin Cook & Karlos Williams2,165
2013Devonta Freeman & Karlos Williams2,087
2012Freeman, James Wilder & Chris Thompson2,462
2011Freeman, Wilder & Jermaine Thomas1,265
2010Thompson, Thomas & Ty Jones2,196

It’s obvious that in most of these years, Fisher employed the running back by committee approach, but he also only had a back that shined over the others in terms of talent with Dalvin Cook. Devonta Freeman was special, but Karlos Williams and Chris Thompson both made the NFL. And in years like 2017 and 2010, nobody was a transcendent talent like Cook.

Williams is both special and clearly the best back on A&M’s roster. In almost every season but one, Fisher’s backs accumulated more than or approached 2,000 yards from scrimmage. A&M’s offensive line should be able to move guys around and create plenty of space for Williams.

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If he can have a monster game against top five opponents Alabama or Clemson, it will quickly put him in the Heisman conversation that he should already be a part of.

Jeff Shull is the Site Expert for the Gig Em Gazette on FanSided. Follow him on Twitter, and be sure to follow the Gig Em Gazette on Facebook and Twitter.