PROVO — Mention the name Ty’Son Williams to BYU football fans, and almost invariably they will come up with the same response.
Oh, what might have been.
Williams is one of about 10 BYU football players who hopes to hear his name called in the NFL draft this weekend, but probably won’t.
After the first three games of the 2019 season, Williams’ prospects for playing professional football seemed high. The 6-foot, 220-pound graduate transfer from South Carolina carried the ball 49 times for 264 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner in BYU’s upset of Tennessee.
He was a key cog in BYU’s 30-27 overtime win over No. 24 USC, rushing 19 times for 99 yards and catching an 18-yard pass out of the backfield.
But the following week, against No. 21 Washington, Williams sustained a season-ending ACL injury, and the Cougars fell 45-19 to the Huskies. Many believe BYU’s hopes to put together a special season also went out the door with Williams’ injury.
The native of Sumter, South Carolina, who played his freshman season at North Carolina before becoming a Gamecock in 2016, tried to get the year back via a hardship waiver from the NCAA, but it was apparently denied.
So he jumped into the NFL draft, knowing his prospects of getting selected are slim because he wasn’t able to show pro teams his recovery from the knee injury is complete. Of all the BYU players hurt because the school wasn’t able to have a Pro Day, Williams was probably hurt the most.
“He’s got all the skills needed to make it in the NFL,” BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes once said. “He’s got the physical characteristics, too.”
Williams put together a makeshift pro day with some other players with NFL hopes and posted a video of it to YouTube in March.
His time of 4.48 seconds in the 40-yard dash would have been good enough for a tie for sixth place among running backs at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. He did 24 bench-press reps (225 pounds), which would have tied him for third at the combine.
In the three-cone drill, Williams posted a time of 6.81 seconds. By all appearances, the knee looked fine.
Williams declined to be interviewed for this story through his agent, Salt Lake City attorney Mark Flores of Pillar Sports Management, who also represented former BYU quarterback Taysom Hill. The soft-spoken running back said he would talk after the results of the NFL draft are in.