Arkansas Football: Who replaces Rawleigh Williams III in the backfield?
Now that the second-leading running back from the SEC, Rawleigh Williams III, is departing the Arkansas football team, one player is ready to rise to the challenge.
The story of Rawleigh Williams III is one of tragedy and return. It’s the stuff of a Hollywood tale that our hero must fall in order to rise again but this time even better than before. Arkansas football fans and coaches thought they had gotten past the point in the story where their hero overcomes adversity.
Spring practice gave Williams a scare and made him face a tough decision. The decision to retire. For many on the outside, it could look like a complete disaster for Bret Bielema and his run-first mentality, however, anyone that knows program knows what’s coming.
If you don’t know the name, Devwah Whaley by now, you will by the end of the season. Whaley came to Arkansas as the number 4 running back in the nation. His size of 6-foot-0 and 205 pounds mixed with a 40-yard dash time of 4.42 makes him a serious threat to any defense trying to stop him.
Last Season Was Just A Warm Up
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The sophomore is coming off a good freshman year in which he totaled 602 yards and averaged 5.5 on the season. That may not sound all that impressive but the reality is Whaley never found his groove during last season.
In game five against Alcorn State, the freshman speedster totaled 135 yards on 9 carries and averaged 15 yards. The next week against Alabama, the Tide held him to an average of just 4.5 yards but that’s still a great number for anyone much less a true freshman.
This coming season gives Whaley a year of experience in the SEC and a year of learning with offensive coordinator Dan Enos. If he reaches his potential this season, he could make some defensive coordinators hair turn gray from stress.
What makes Devwah Whaley really scary is his diversity in skill. Not only can he take a handoff and get nice chunk yardage through the through tackles but he also has a great catching ability. If you want to see what that opens up for an offense, take a look at what Ezekiel Elliot did at Dallas last year.
It’s a luxury for any team to have a back fast enough to have the potential for penetration to the secondary on any given play and have the ability to cause misdirection on the screen. The multidimensional toolbox of Whaley is something you can rest assured his coaches will be utilizing to the fullest.