David Williams - Wide Receiver - 1988-89 - University of Illinois
Excerpt - University of Illinois Athletic Department
University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics (DIA) officials announced Friday that Fighting Illini great David Williams will return to Champaign-Urbana for the Illinois Renaissance celebration game against Eastern Illinois Sept. 6. Williams joins a long list of legendary Illinois players who will be on hand for the 2008 home opener, when fans will get their first look at the newly finished stadium.
"I'm looking forward to seeing all of my teammates and the greats who played before and after me at Illinois," Williams said. "I also can't wait to see the new stadium and this year's Fighting Illini team. I think Coach Zook is doing a great job getting the program back into the spotlight and I love how he continues to bring former players back together.
"We all love and respect the University of Illinois and each other, and I hope we can pass some of that feeling along to the current team. It will be an honor to be recognized with all of the former Illinois greats, and I can't wait for future reunions when many of the current Fighting Illini will be there celebrating with us."
Williams was selected as one of the 10 greatest receivers in Illinois history as released by the DIA May 15. A large number of the Fighting Illini greats already have indicated they will be returning to campus for the event and more names will be revealed as the game draws near.
Illinois' all-time leading receiver, Williams finished his collegiate career as the second-leading receiver in NCAA history, racking up 262 catches, 3,392 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns in only three seasons with the Orange and Blue. He was a two-time unanimous first team All-American in 1984 and '85. In 1984, he led the nation with 101 receptions, becoming only the second player in NCAA history to surpass the 100-reception mark. He was twice named first team All-Big Ten and led Illinois to a conference title in 1983 and an appearance in the 1984 Rose Bowl.
Williams still holds or shares nearly every receiving mark in the Illinois record books. He holds Illini records for career receptions (262) and yardage (3,392), single season receptions (101) and yardage (1,278), single-game receptions (16) and yardage (208), and career touchdown receptions (24). He is also tied with Brandon Lloyd for single season touchdown receptions (10).
One of three Williams brothers to play receiver at Illinois, David went on to play
with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Raiders in the National Football League and played seven years in the Canadian Football League.
Williams exploded onto the CFL scene in 1988 with the B.C. Lions as he totalled 1,468 yards and 18 touchdowns being named the League's Most Outstanding Player. The lanky Williams formed a lethal combination with quarterback Matt Dunigan. The 2 had a great rapport and would continue their connection in Toronto and Winnipeg later in their careers.
1988 would be Williams finest season but the team would lost a heartbreaking Grey Cup in 1988 to Winnipeg at Ottawa's Lansdowne Park. Williams had a touchdown in the game, but a late turnover cost the Lions the Grey Cup. Williams would post a terrific season again in 1989 with B.C. before joining the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1990. The Illinois product would capture his elusive Grey Cup championship with the Toronto Argonauts in 1991. He would go on to play 3 seasons in Winnipeg again teaming with Matt Dunigan before retiring from pro football after the 1995 season.
He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in December of 2005.