Pooka Williams Jr., earns Freshman All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Pooka Williams Jr., was tabbed a Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) Freshman All-America honoree as an all-purpose player. Williams is KU’s first FWAA Freshman All-American since 2009 when offensive lineman Tanner Hawkinson took home the honor. Williams is one of five players from the Big 12 Conference to be honored and is one of 18 true freshmen to find their name on the prestigious list.
A New Orleans native, Williams took home Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year honors and was also named to the All-Big 12 First Team as a running back and a returner by the league coaches. He was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and was a first-team honoree as an all-purpose player by the Associated Press, while taking home second-team honors at running back.
Williams rushed for a total of 1,125 yards on 161 carries, good for 102.3 yards per game, 7.0 yards per carry and seven rushing touchdowns. He added 289 yards and two scores on 33 receptions and 246 yards on 11 kick returns to lead the Big 12 and rank sixth in the FBS in all-purpose yards at 150.9 per game. Williams also threw for a touchdown—a nine-yard pass against Oklahoma.
Williams is one of two players in the Big 12 Conference to record a 100-yard rushing game (4) and a 100-yard receiving game (1) joining TCU’s Jalen Reagor. He is also one of only two players in the league to score a touchdown by way of passing, rushing and receiving in 2018 joining Texas’ Lil’ Jordan Humphrey and is one of just three true freshman in Big 12 history to accomplish the feat.
Williams’ 1,125 rushing yards tie him for eighth place in KU’s single-season history books, ranking him second among Jayhawk freshmen on that list. His 252 rushing yards at Oklahoma rank sixth in KU’s single-game records, while his 16.8 yards per carry against the Sooners was both a Big 12 Conference and Kansas record for a game with a minimum of 15 carries. His 1,660 all-purpose yards rank third on KU’s single-season list.
Williams was tabbed the Big 12 Conference’s Newcomer of the Week on four occasions during the 2018 season. He is the one of just two Jayhawk running backs to be tabbed All-Big 12 First Team, joining Jon Cornish (2006). He is also one of just two Kansas returners to earn All-Big 12 First Team accolades, joining Charles Gordon (2005).