Pooka Williams named Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year

Kansas' Pooka Williams runs against Central Michigan.

Pooka Williams was named the Big 12 conference’s Offensive Freshman of the Year and was named to the All Big 12 conference’s first team after a sensational start to his collegiate career.

The former Hahnville superstar became both the first Jayhawk ever to garner Freshman Offensive Player of the Year honors and the first Kansas freshman to be named All-Big 12 First Team at any position.

He’s already asserted himself as among the most explosive players in the league by his habit of generating splash plays for big gains. With 15 carries of 20+ yards, 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 along all FBS schools in all-purpose yards at 150.9 per game.

Williams also threw for a touchdown — a nine-yard pass against Oklahoma — rounding out a season that saw him do a little bit of everything.

He was one of two players in the conference to record a 100-yard rushing game (achieving that four times) and a 100-yard receiving game. He is also one of only two players in the league to score a touchdown by way of passing, rushing and receiving in 2018 and is one of just three true freshmen 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 was named to the All-Big 12 team as both a running back and a kick/punt returner, becoming one of just two Jayhawk running backs to ever 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, along with Charles Gordon (2005).


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