Alfred Williams 5th Colorado Buffalo to be enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame

“I’m speechless”, Alfred Williams told the Daily Camera upon learning of his being named to the the College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2010. “I’m honored … I’ve been nervous all day. I was supposed to be waiting for some kind of envelope, and I was sitting around the house waiting for it all day. I started to think it wasn’t going to come.”

Williams joins Byron “Whizzer” White (Class of 1952), Joe Romig (1984), Dick Anderson (1993) and Bobby Anderson (2006) as former Buffs enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame. This was the third year for Williams on the ballot, who was joined by running back Eric Bieniemy and coach Bill McCartney, both who were nominated for the first time this year. (Bieniemy and McCartney will automatically be on the ballot for the next decade – or until they are elected).

Williams will be part of a 14-member class which will be inducted in New York City this December. While it may seem that the induction for Williams, who has been out of a Buff uniform for 20 years, has been a long time coming, in fact Williams is the third youngest member of the Class of 2010. Only Michigan’s Desmond Howard, who completed his playing days in 1991, and the late Pat Tillman (1997) were in college uniforms more recently than Williams.

Other notables from the Class of 2010 include: DL Ray Childress (the only other player from a Big 12 team inducted this year); OG Randy Cross (UCLA); RB Sam “The Bam” Cunningham (USC); and QB Mark Herrmann (Purdue). Two coaches, Barry Alverez from Wisconsin, and Gene Stallings, who coached at Texas A&M and Alabama, will also be inducted.

“Our hats off to Alfred for his prominence on the football field beyond CU, but also for what he continues to stand for as it relates to our football program, athletic department, and the entire university,” said Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn, who, along with media relations director Dave Plati called Williams during his radio program on KKFN to give Williams the news (link to the radio telecast – http://www.1043thefan.com/Channels/AlfredAndD-Mac/Story.aspx?ID=1234359). “Many feel that it is more than appropriate that Alfred is the first to go in from the national championship team, not only because of what he meant to that team, but how he has represented and supported the university through the years.”

“I am so proud and honored by this, but it’s a tribute to my teammates and coaches,” said Williams. “I am both humble and proud to represent all my teammates as the first to go from our national championship team. Hopefully, there will be others, including Coach Mac … Everyone knows how I feel about the University of Colorado, and my love for the school.”

Williams as a Colorado Buff

Alfred Williams came to Boulder in 1987 from Jesse Jones High school in Houston, where he was a first-team USA Today All-American, and was considered one of the top five high school prospects out of Texas.

1987 – As a true freshman in 1987, Williams played in all 11 games, earning his first career start against Kansas State in the second to last game of the season. Williams was in for 230 plays in 1987, about half of the plays that year. Despite being on the sideline about half the time, Williams still led the team in tackles for loss (11) and quarterback sacks (six), and was third on the team in passes broken up (ten).  Buffs’ record: 7-4.

1988 – Williams started all 11 regular season games and the Freedom Bowl in his sophomore season. Williams recorded 59 tackles, including 43 solo, once again leading the team in sacks, with six. Williams tied for the team lead in in forced fumbles and recoveries (two each), and had four pass deflections. Williams was named second-team All-Big Eight, and was given honorable mention All-American honors by The Sporting News. Against Iowa in week two, Williams had a career day: seven solo tackles, including four for loss; two quarterback sacks; a forced fumble (which set up the game-winning drive against the 19th-ranked Hawkeyes); and a pass deflection (Williams even had a blocked punt which was nullified by penalty). Here is the CU at the Game Archives write-up for the Iowa game – http://www.cuatthegame.com/1988/19-iowa-buffs-post-first-road-win-over-a-ranked-team-in-ten-years/. For his efforts in the Iowa game, Williams was named The Sporting News Player-of-the-Week nationally (ironically enough, Williams was honored nationally, but not by his own conference. Teammate Bruce Young, a junior safety, earned Big Eight Defensive Player-of-the-Week honors against Iowa for his 11 tackle (ten solo), one sack, and one interception effort). Buffs’ record: 8-4.

1989 – Big things were expected from Alfred Williams after he graced the cover (along with teammate Kanavis McGhee) of The Sporting News 1989 preseason magazine – and Williams did not disappoint. Starting every game, the Buff junior earned consensus All-American honors, being a first-team choice of UPI, Kodak, Football Writers and the Football News (Williams would have become the first Buff to be named as a unanimous All-American, but AP voted Williams to its second team). Williams was a unanimous pick as the Big Eight Defensive Player-of-the-Year (only the third Buff defender to be so honored, and the first since 1969), and was a unanimous first-team All-Big Eight selection. Williams was named Big Eight Player-of-the-Week for his efforts against Texas (CU at the Game link – http://www.cuatthegame.com/1989/texas-darian-hagan-makes-a-75-yard-debut/) and against Colorado State (http://www.cuatthegame.com/1989/colorado-state-3/). Williams was second on the team in tackles with 81 (58 solo), and, for the third consecutive season led the team in sacks, with 10 1/2 (which also led the Big Eight). Williams also had nine tackles (eight solo) in the Orange Bowl loss to Notre Dame. Buffs’ record: 11-1.

1990 – Coming up just short of a national championship in 1989, the national spotlight remained focused on Colorado as the 1990 season opened. Nine Buffs were listed on at least one All-American preseason team, with Alfred Williams leading the way. Williams was named a pre-season All-American by at least six publications, and was named a Butkus Award favorite by several others. Williams lived up to the hype, leading Colorado to its first national championship in football. Williams, along with guard Joe Garten and running back Eric Bieniemy, became the first three Buffs to ever earn unanimous All-American honors. Williams repeated as the Big Eight Defensive Player-of-the-Year and as a unanimous All Big-Eight first team performer. In December, Alfred Williams became the first Colorado player in school history to earn a national individual award, being presented the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s premier linebacker (Williams was also one of 12 natonal finalists for the Lombardi Award, given to the nation’s best lineman – joining teammates Joe Garten and Kanavis McGhee as finalists). For the fourth consecutive season, Williams led the Buffs in sacks, registering 12 1/2. Williams had 88 tackles overall, including 26 quarterback pressures, two forced fumbles and six passes broken up. For the second year in a row, Williams earned Big Eight Defensive Player-of-the-Week for his efforts against Texas (CU at the Game Archive link: http://www.cuatthegame.com/1990/cu-vs-texas-sep-22-1990/). In the national championship game against Notre Dame, Williams had eight tackles, four solo. Buffs’ record: 11-1-1.

While at Colorado, Williams helped to re-write the record book for defenders. Before Alfred Williams, the career sack leader for the Buffs was Dan McMillen, who posted 20 sacks (1982-85) … Williams had 35. Curt Koch had set the standard for tackles for loss in a career, registering 39 between 1984 and 1987 … Williams had 59. Williams also finished his career with the most starts by a defensive player (45), and most consecutive starters by a defender (35).

Overall, Colorado was 37-10-1 during Williams’ career, including a 22-6 record in Big Eight play (in the final two seasons, in which Williams was named back-to-back Big Eight Defensive Player-of-the-Year, Colorado was 22-2-1, 14-0 in Big Eight play). His 263 tackles (180 solo) ranked him 10th all-time in that category, while his quarterback hurries (53) ranked him second all-time in Buff history, and his 42 third down stops ranked him third all-time. Williams was inducted into CU’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008, and was selected as a honorable mentioin performer for Colorado’s All-Century team (1890-1989) even though Williams still had a year and a half to play when the votes were tallied.

“When he was at his best, he was the best,” said Williams’ coach, Bill McCartney. “When he wanted it bad, look out. You couldn’t keep him out of the backfield. He loved to compete … He’s as talented as anyone Colorado has ever had, and I’m proud of him for receiving this recognition.”

Williams in the NFL

Alfred Williams was a first round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1991 (18th overall). Williams enjoyed an eight year career in the NFL, playing in 128 games overall, posting 59.5 sacks, two safeties, and one fumble returned for a touchdown. His best year came in 1996, when, as a member of the Denver Broncos, Williams was named to the Pro Bowl team. In 1997 and 1998, Williams earned Super Bowl rings as a member of the Broncos.

My favorite Williams quote

A little background … Colorado was ranked 8th in the nation two weeks into the 1989 season, and was going up against No. 10 Illinois. The Buffs were 2-0, but were coming off a less than stellar come-from-behind win over a poor Colorado State squad. The week leading up to the game, Illinois quarterback Jeff George, who had led the Illni to a season-opening upset of No. 5 USC, stated that Colorado was “an average team”, and that perhaps the No. 8 Buffs were overrated. After Colorado trounced Illinois, 38-7, (a game in which George was intercepted twice and sacked four times), Williams said: “I think for ‘an average team’, we did pretty good, even by his standards.”

Congratulations to Alfred Williams – 2010 College Football Hall of Fame inductee!

One Reply to “Alfred Williams Joins CFB Hall of Fame Class of 2010”

  1. Congratulations to a most deserving and all-time great Buff! Thanks for the memories and your continued support for the program!

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