Football Writers Association of America Dec. 10, 2001
For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Richardson
Sooner safety beats out teammate, three others

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FWAA) – Oklahoma safety Roy Williams was named the best defensive player in college football on Monday night when he claimed the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.

Roy Williams was a menacing presence all season in the OU secondary (OU SID)

Williams, a 6-1, 221-pound junior, beat out teammate, linebacker Rocky Calmus, and three defensive ends – North Carolina's Julius Peppers, Syracuse's Dwight Freeney and Florida's Alex Brown – to win the award which is presented by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club. The FWAA has presented a Defensive Player of the Year Award since 1993.

Williams was the top player on one of college football's best defenses. Included in his résumé, was his hit on Texas quarterback Chris Simms near the goal line which resulted in an OU interception for touchdown by the Sooners' Teddy Lehman in a 14-3 OU victory.

"There is no doubt that he is the most productive and active defensive back I've ever watched or been around as far as impacting a game, making big plays and producing turnovers," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "And he's the best open-field tackler I've ever seen."

During the 2001 regular season, Williams had 101 tackles (73 unassisted), 11 tackles-for-loss (minus-40 yards), two sacks (minus-16 yards), five interceptions (25 yards), 22 passes broken up (school record), four quarterback hurries and three fumble recoveries (25 yards, one touchdown).

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy

Williams has 268 career tackles which is the third highest total for a defensive back in Oklahoma history. Next season, Williams would need just 23 tackles to move past Zac Henderson into second place among defensive backs at the school. His 29 career tackles for loss already rank him No. 1 among defensive backs.

During the past season, Williams had two games in which he had double-digit tackles (15 vs. North Texas and 11 against Texas A&M). Williams returned a fumble 18 yards for a touchdown in a victory over Kansas State. In the victory over North Texas, Williams had two interceptions and forced a fumble which the Sooners recovered.


"If you start picking out awards for the best player in the country, he's got to be right up there among them." – Texas A&M head coach R.C. Slocum

"As aggressive a secondary player as you'll find anywhere." – Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder

"I think he's as dominant a defensive back as there is in the country." – Greg Davis, Texas offensive coordinator

"Williams runs a 4.5 40 and benches 400 pounds. That's sprinter speed and linebacker lumber in an explosively athletic package. Williams defies labeling." – FWAA member Tom Dienhart, The Sporting News

"He can single-handedly screw up an offensive practice." – Kansas head coach and former OU offensive coordinator Mark Mangino

"The 6-1, 221-pound Williams ... should get Heisman consideration." – FWAA member Bruce Feldman, ESPN The Magazine

"He's the best in college (football)." – Oklahoma receiver Josh Norman

"Did you see that hit on Chris Simms? Of course you did. How many players in the country could make that play?" – Past FWAA President Ivan Maisel, Sports Illustrated

Related Links:
• Charlotte Touchdown Club
• FWAA awards calendar