While Virginia Tech is considered a smaller school compared to the likes of powerhouse facilities similar to University of Florida or University of South Carolina, there is a single player that receives a massive amount of exposure equal to his own school—and deserves more.
Ryan Williams, sophomore tailback born in Manassas, Virginia, made his own scene rather than bursting onto it just a year ago.
Seemingly single handedly, the young Williams carried his home state to a victory over Tennessee in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl as a mere freshman.
On top of that, the 5'10", 206 pound machine scored a record 22 regular season touchdowns in addition to 1,655 yards rushing.
While overall yards on the ground are indeed a healthy way to measure a running back's success, another feat beyond the records and hellacious numbers demands respect: his single game performances.
College football is nothing compared to the NFL, although dominance is simply underrated for the Stonewall Jackson graduate.
In five out of the 12 regular seasons game played in 2009, Williams found a way to compile 150 yards or more.
Moreover, Williams had over nine games of 100 yards or more rushing and, incredibly, had eight games with at least five yards-per-carry on his way to padding his statistics with a 5.6 yards-per-rush feat.
Numbers do not lie, and the former SuperPrep All-American has plenty to choose from.
However, Williams has more than just stats to help his cause.
As a fellow Walter Payton enthusiast, I understand the belief behind Ryan Williams' love for arguably the greatest NFL player of all-time.
Williams admires Payton because the two running backs share the same passion to run full strength, all out, all day. "Never run out of bounds" is a mental quote Walter Payton lived by, and Williams has followed that sentence precisely every weekend.
Many running backs are getting stronger, bigger, and faster following their collegiate career. With that being said, you can't teach heart or determination and dedication.
The tailback position is the most gruesome, mentally tough position out of every spot, debatably. Williams has displayed the courage, heart, and brilliance to become one of the best.
Traits and influences may not be any incentive to draft the Virginia Tech product-in-the-making after his stint as a Hokie, but what better idol and handful of personality details to choose from than Sweetness himself?
Understandably, quarterbacks receive the majority of the spotlight in every level of gridiron play. But if Ryan Williams keeps lighting up the scoreboard every game and develops into a better running back, what should hold him back from claiming the most wanted trophy in all of individual college achievements?
As a freshman, Williams became known as the workhorse of Virginia Tech's offense. Is that something Mark Ingram has placed under his belt?
The 20-year-old was only half of a yard away from matching 2009's Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram's yards-per-rush. If that doesn't speak volumes for the potential behind a continued maturity, then there is no other way to persuade any football faithful.
In conclusion, the 2010 Virginia Tech Hokies are looking forward to an improved, more mature returning team in the approaching months. Tyrod Taylor has continued his crucial development, and a sophomore slump is irrelevant to Ryan Williams, who has everything needed in order to sustain his run at a Heisman trophy.