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Let's face it: any senior offensive lineman coming out of Nebraska is going to get a look from NFL teams because of the storied program's ability to turn out pro-caliber talent. Williams' size and relative athleticism make him the next probable draft pick to come out of Lincoln.
Williams spurned his home-state Missouri Tigers to play for NU, redshirting in 2006 and played mostly on special teams the following year. He got his chance to shine as a sophomore, starting the last nine games of the year at left guard. He sat out the first game of 2009 due to injury, then played two as a reserve before starting the rest of his junior season, earning honorable mention All-Big 12 honors - a feat he duplicated while starting every game in 2010.
Williams' physical attributes, college pedigree and obvious toughness make him a mid-to-late-round pick and give him a chance to start in the NFL in time, but his upright stance and lack of elite quickness could also cause him problems against quicker, stronger linemen at the next level.
Strengths: Looks the part of a NFL lineman. Fair mobility for his size, used on pulls in either direction. Combos to help left tackle, then attacks linebacker, to open up big holes. Strong enough to put tackles on the ground when helping the center. Willing drive blocker, keeps his lean and his feet moving until play is done. Nice anchor in pass protection, does not get bull-rushed into the backfield. Difficult to get off once engaged because of strong hands and lateral agility. Plays with a nasty streak, willing to block through the whistle if challenged and adds himself to piles.
Weaknesses: Plays tall, will be out-leveraged by NFL defensive tackles unless his technique improves. Runs upright when pulling, spins his wheels behind the line of scrimmage. Lacks flexibility and knee bend to hit and sustain targets in space. Lunges at quick pass rushers inside and often falls on defenders (or to the ground) on the move instead of getting his hands on them. Does not win hand battles. Late off the snap at times.
Williams sat out the season opener, then came off the bench the following two weeks, before regaining his starting job for the remainder of the season. He helped Nebraska I-back Roy Helu Jr. rush for better than 1,000 yards and quarterback Zac Lee post the fifth-highest passing total in school history. Williams started the final nine games of his sophomore season in 2008, and helped Nebraska top 30 points 10 times. NU also amassed more than 400 yards in nine games and finished 12th nationally in total offense. Williams played in 10 games as a reserve guard in 2007, and also served on the PAT and field-goal units. He redshirted in his first season in 2006.
Williams started all 13 games at left guard. His play helped Nebraska rack up 10 games with 200 rushing yards, including back-to-back 300-yard rushing efforts early in the year vs. Idaho and Washington. NU also posted a 451-yard rushing effort at Kansas State, the most by a Nebraska offense in seven seasons. Nebraska runners have produced 12 100- yard rushing games behind Williams and his crew, including three 100-yard rushers at Washington and a pair of runners over the century mark in two other games.
Western Kentucky: Third-year starter helped Nebraska to a strong performance in the opener, as the Huskers totaled 536 yards of total offense and averaged 9.2 yards per play... NU put up 289 yards on the ground, its best effort since the 2008 campaign, and averaged an impressive 8.8 yards per carry. Idaho: Game captain...blocked for a rushing attack that put up 360 yards - its best total since the 2007 opener - and averaged 8.8 yards per carry...helped Taylor Martinez (157) and Roy Helu Jr. (107) top the 100-yard mark on the ground. Washington: Helped Nebraska put up 56 points - its best non-conference road effort since 1986 - as he paved the way for a trio of 100-yard rushers...keyed Nebraska offense to 383 yards on the ground as part of a 533-yard afternoon. South Dakota State: Helped Nebraska crack the 200-yard mark on the ground, as NU posted a 17-3 victory. Kansas State: Williams played a key role in Nebraska racking up 451 yards on the ground in a 48-13 victory...helped NU average 10.7 yards per carry with Taylor Martinez (241) and Roy Helu (110) both going over 100 yards.
Texas: NU totaled just 202 yards, including a season-low 125 rushing yards in a 20-13 loss. Oklahoma State: Helped Nebraska to 540 yards of offense and 51 points against the previously unbeaten Cowboys, including a season-high 323 yards passing by Taylor Martinez ...NU scored on eight of its 13 drives. Missouri: Keyed an attack that helped Roy Helu Jr. rush for a school record 307 yards against a MU defense that had allowed just 114.6 rushing yards per game in its first seven games...helped NU score on its first four possessions. Iowa State: Helped NU churn out 235 rushing yards, as Nebraska nearly had two running backs go over 100 yards in a game without its top two quarterbacks in a 31-30 overtime win. Kansas: Helped the Huskers rush for 230 yards and total a season-high 36:28 in time of possession. Texas A&M: Started at left guard for the 11th time in 2010. Colorado: Anchored a Husker offense that eclipsed 40 points for the fifth time this season, as NU totaled 407 yards and held the ball for a season-high 39:30...keyed a rushing attack that had 265 yards.
Sat out the season opener, then came off the bench the following two weeks, before regaining his starting job for the remainder of the season. He helped Nebraska I-back Roy Helu Jr. rush for 1,147 yards and 10 touchdowns, while averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Williams also helped protect Nebraska quarterback Zac Lee, who finished fifth on the Nebraska single-season passing chart.
Started the final nine games and helped Nebraska top 30 points 10 times, while gaining at least 400 yards in nine games. NU finished 12th nationally in total offense at 450.8 yards per game, and made big strides in the run game in the second half of the year. The Huskers averaged better than 210 yards rushing over the final six regular-season games. Williams also provided protection for quarterback Joe Ganz who set NU season records for passing yards, total offense and completion percentage.
Williams played in 10 games at guard behind starters Mike Huff, Jacob Hickman and Matt Slauson. Williams also saw action as a blocker on PAT and fieldgoal units. The offensive line was the driving force behind Nebraska finishing in the top 10 nationally in both passing offense and total offense.
Williams redshirted and was part of an impressive scout team offensive line.
Williams recorded 24 tackles, including one sack and one fumble recovery and earned first-team Class 5A All-State honors. He helped lead Coach Jim Schottmueller’s McClure North squad to back-to-back Missouri Class 5A championship game appearances. As a junior, Williams recorded 51 total tackles, including five tackles for losses and one sack in earning first-team all-conference honors on defense, and first-team all-metro and all-state honors as an offensive lineman.
Williams was ranked as the No. 55 offensive tackle prospect in the nation according to Rivals.com, which listed him as the No. 13 player in Missouri. PrepStar placed Williams on its All-Midlands region team. Williams also received offers from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan State and Missouri.
Keith is the son of Marnetta Jackson and Keith Williams, Sr., and was born on April 8, 1988. He has not declared a major, but was named to the 2007 Big 12 Commissioner’s Spring Honor Roll. Williams has volunteered with hospital visits.
Draft Scout Player News
08/26/13 - OT Chris Hairston was placed on the Reserve/Non-Football Illness list, while OG Keith Williams was released with an injury settlement.
08/22/13 - G Keith Williams was placed on reserve/injured by the Bills after clearing waivers.
12/05/12 - OG Keith Williams, 6-5, 330, was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster to account for a rash of injuries. A sixth-round of the Steelers in 2011, he signed with Buffalo in October. He played his college ball at Nebraska.
10/24/12 - OL Keith Williams was signed to the Bills' practice squad. Williams (6-5, 330) spent 13 weeks on the club's practice unit last year. He entered the NFL as a sixth-round of Pittsburgh in 2011 before being released in camp. Williams started 34 of 50 games at Nebraska.
01/03/12 - G Keith Williams, who ended the season on the Bills' practice squad, was signed to a reserve/futures contract for 2012.