Kansas suspends RB Pooka Williams after assault charge

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas running back Pooka Williams was suspended by the Jayhawks on Friday after his arrest on suspicion of domestic battery, the same day the star freshman was chosen Big 12 newcomer of the year.

Williams, whose given name is Anthony Ray Williams, was involved in a physical confrontation at a Lawrence apartment complex Thursday, university police said in a statement. The woman reported minor injuries, and the incident report indicates that she sustained injuries from bodily force.

Williams was interviewed later Thursday and arrested at the university public safety office. He was due in court later Friday, and his case has been forwarded to the Douglas County District Attorney.

Coach Les Miles, who was hired just two a couple weeks ago, said in a statement that Williams had been suspended from all team activities pending further investigation.

“We are taking these allegations very seriously,” Miles said. Associate athletic director Jim Marchiony said the athletic department had no additional comment.

Williams was a four-star prospect from Boutte, Louisiana, who emerged as a star during his first season in Lawrence. He ran for 1,125 yards and seven touchdowns after missing the opener amid questions about his eligibility, and he added 289 yards and two touchdowns through the air.

His best performance came in a 55-40 loss at Oklahoma, where Williams ran for 252 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 carries. He also threw a touchdown pass in the game, becoming one of three freshmen in Big 12 history with TDs running, passing and receiving in the same season.

Williams was chosen the league’s newcomer of the week four times last season, and he was voted the newcomer of the year by The Associated Press in voting completed before his arrest. He also was selected first-team All-Big 12 as an all-purpose player and to the second team as a running back.

Not surprisingly, Williams was considered one of the cornerstones for what Miles hopes will be a quick turnaround in Lawrence. The Jayhawks went 3-9 last season, their 10th consecutive losing season, which led to the firing of David Beaty after four seasons on the job.