Arkansas rusher Jonathan Williams to miss season with foot injury
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas running back Jonathan Williams will miss the regular season with a foot injury.
Williams hurt his left foot during a scrimmage on Saturday. Coach Bret Bielema said Monday that surgery is needed to insert a screw in the foot and Williams will have a slight chance of returning for a bowl game if the Razorbacks make it to one.
"I really believe when he does return he'll probably be a better football player, a more talented football player, a more developed football player than he's ever been before," Bielema said.
Williams is the 10th leading rusher in school history with 2,321 yards on the ground, including 1,190 last season when he led to the Razorbacks to a 7-6 record and Texas Bowl win over Texas.
He briefly considered leaving Arkansas for the NFL last season, but he announced his return prior to a 31-7 win over the Longhorns in the bowl game.
Williams and Alex Collins entered this season as the only major college football teammates to each rush for more than 1,000 yards last season.
Bielema said Williams watched the Razorbacks practice Monday following an upper-body workout on his own, and that his surgery would happen soon.
He said Williams was injured late during Saturday's scrimmage when two defensive linemen landed on his foot from behind.
Bielema also said Williams, who was projected as a third-round pick following last season, had insurance against catastrophic injury and loss of value in the NFL draft --though he expects the running back to recover in time to show scouts he's fully recovered.
Williams, who was on the preseason watch lists for the Maxwell and Doak Walker awards, had 11 carries for 66 yards during the scrimmage, including a 36-yard run.
Collins added a 43-yard touchdown run in the practice, and talented freshman Rawleigh Williams added a 66-yard touchdown run. The two, along with junior Kody Walker, will now have to fill the void left by Jonathan Williams' injury.
"If there's one team in college football that could take a hit at the running back position, it's probably the Arkansas Razorbacks," Bielema said. "We'll obviously regroup and do what we're doing, but it's not a setback in any way, shape or form. It's an opportunity for others to take a step forward, and I'm excited about that."