A picture of former heavyweight boxer Carl ”The Truth” Williams hangs in Utah fullback Karl Williams’ room. Ever since the football-playing Williams scored his first high school touchdown, he also has been dubbed ”The Truth.”
What Karl Williams hopes is true is that he’ll be selected in the upcoming NFL draft.
Williams worked his way from nobody to team leader with the Utes. He sought the big spotlight in college ball after playing a game with Southern Utah, an FCS school, at San Diego State in his freshman season.
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”It was really intimidating,” recalls the 6-foot, 245-pound Williams. ”I was never in front of that many people; probably 4,500 was the most in my high school championship game. It also was their opener at San Diego, with fireworks and the stadium packed. Coming into that environment put the taste in my mouth.”
So he walked on with Utah, spent the next season as a redshirt, then worked his way up from kick coverages to captain of special teams to part-time fullback to featured back.
”Walk-ons they say are part of the family, but like any other place, you are different than the scholarship players,” Williams says. ”You don’t get the scholarship money each month, you’re not in the same boat.
”The hard part was getting through to coaches that I could be a scholarship player. As a walk-on, getting the coaches’ attention is the hard road. I think the players are more in tune to what you are doing, through the blood, sweat and tears you share with them, and being out there with them.”
Now he hopes he has a right to be in the NFL. Several teams have contacted him, but in most projections, he’s a third-day selection. He’s got some strong credentials, including versatility, power and a knack for getting into the end zone.
He recognizes that fullback ”is a dying breed,” and sees himself as a hybrid, a player who can block, carry the ball and catch it either out of the backfield or even as a tight end. He says he would have no problem trying to make an NFL team as an undrafted free agent.
”I came to Utah as a walk-on,” he says. ”If I go into the NFL as a walk-on, it is the same as I did in college. I will beat it.”
DALTON EXPECTING COMPANY: Andy Dalton expects the Bengals to take a quarterback in one of the later rounds, but he’s been told not to worry about losing his job.
The Bengals signed Jason Campbell as Dalton’s backup last month, giving them three different No. 2 quarterbacks in the last three years. Bruce Gradkowski, who was with Pittsburgh last season, and Josh Johnson – still under contract – also have been the backup.
”From everything they’ve told me, they’re not bringing in anybody to compete,” Dalton said this week. ”I’m not worried about it.”
When last season ended, coach Marvin Lewis reassured Dalton that he’s still the team’s leader. Dalton led the Bengals to the playoffs each of his first three seasons, but played poorly and lost all three playoff games.
The Bengals have drafted seven quarterbacks in the last 20 years: Akili Smith (first round 1999), Carson Palmer (first overall pick 2003), Dalton (second round 2011), Jeff Rowe (fifth round 2007), John Walsh (seventh round 1995), Scott Covington (seventh round 1999) and Casey Bramlet (seventh round 2004). Rowe, Walsh and Bramlet lasted only one season in Cincinnati. Covington made it three years.
Cincinnati could be ready to try again to draft and develop a backup who could stick around for a few years.
”I’ve heard it’s been a long time since we’ve done that, so I think that’s what they’re planning on doing,” Dalton said. ”But I have no idea.”
TULLOCH TURNED SCOUT? Detroit Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch does not know when he’ll retire, but he has a plan for his post-playing career.
”I’m going to be a scout,” he said.
Tulloch, entering his eighth year in the league, fancies himself as an NFL draft guru. When asked to size up this year’s class during Detroit’s voluntary minicamp, Tulloch’s eyes lit up as he raved about the top prospects.
He said South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is ”obviously a great player,” and believes Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins is ”a once-in-a-10-year player.”
Detroit’s most pressing need is probably at cornerback, and Tulloch likes some of the Lions’ potential options if they stick with making the No. 10 pick overall in May.
”I’m excited about those corners, the guy at Oklahoma State (Justin Gilbert) and Michigan State (Darqueze Dennard),” Tulloch said.
Sounds just like a scout.
AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner and Sports Writers Joe Kay and Larry Lage contributed to this report.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL