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KU football’s Pooka Williams declares for NFL Draft

Matt Galloway
mgalloway@cjonline.com
Kansas football junior running back Pooka Williams announced Sunday his decision to enter next spring's NFL Draft, effectively ending his collegiate career. Williams opted out of this season after four games.

LAWRENCE — Pooka Williams’ departure from Kansas football is now permanent.

Williams, a junior running back who opted out of the remainder of the regular season on Oct. 19, announced Sunday night his decision to enter next spring’s NFL Draft, effectively ending his collegiate career. Across his two-plus seasons, the 5-foot-10, 170-pounder out of New Orleans recorded 415 carries for 2,382 yards (5.7 yards per carry) and 12 touchdowns. Williams also had 66 receptions for 534 yards and four scores and one passing touchdown.

“After much thought and consideration, I will be pursuing my lifelong dream and declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft,” wrote Williams, who made his announcement on Twitter. “Since I was a kid, playing in the NFL has been my goal and I could not be more excited to continue to work toward that goal.”

Playing with an ankle injury and behind a struggling offensive line, Williams was unable to find traction in his final season with the Jayhawks. A preseason All-Big 12 pick, Williams averaged just 3.8 yards across his 51 carries in 2020, though he did return a kickoff 92 yards in his final touch with KU in a 38-17 defeat at West Virginia.

Williams cited family concerns in his decision to step away after KU’s fourth game.

"First and foremost, I want to thank my family for their love and unending support. Without you, I would not be where I am today,” Williams wrote Sunday. “Thank you to my teammates — more like brothers — for always pushing me to be great on and off the field. I also want to thank Coach (Les) Miles and the entire staff at Kansas for everything they have done for me during my time at KU. Coach Miles is my guy for life.

“I will always bleed Crimson and Blue.”

KU (0-8, 0-9 Big 12) will play its 10th and final game this season at 2:30 p.m. Saturday against Texas (6-3, 5-3) at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.