Cadillac Williams
refer to caption
Williams while at Auburn in 2004
Las Vegas Raiders
Position:Running backs coach
Personal information
Born: (1982-04-21) April 21, 1982 (age 41)
Gadsden, Alabama, U.S.
Height:5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight:218 lb (99 kg)
Career information
High school:Etowah (Attalla, Alabama)
College:Auburn (2001–2004)
NFL draft:2005 / Round: 1 / Pick: 5
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing attempts:1,055
Rushing yards:4,038
Rushing touchdowns:21
Receiving yards:1,002
Receiving touchdowns:4
Head coaching record
Regular season:2–2 (.500)
Player stats at

Carnell Lamar "Cadillac" Williams (born April 21, 1982) is an American football coach and former running back in the National Football League (NFL). Williams was the interim head coach of the Auburn Tigers, the first African American to hold the position in Auburn history.[1] He played college football at Auburn, where he set the school's record for career rushing touchdowns and helped the team go undefeated in 2004, when he was named a first-team All-American. During the 2005 NFL Draft, Williams was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round and also played for the St. Louis Rams. In 2005, Williams won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. He Currently is the Running Backs Coach for the Las Vegas Raiders

College career

Williams attended Auburn University after graduating from Etowah High School in Attalla, Alabama. He got the nickname "Cadillac" from a TV sportscaster[2] in Alabama for the style and the way he ran – he was a notch above everyone on the field, and the name stuck.[3] He began the 2001 season as a true freshman and the #3 running back on the depth chart. In the eighth game of the season he had a break-out game against the University of Arkansas and showed his outstanding talent and versatility as a running back. After amassing 177 yards in a 42–17 loss to Arkansas,[4] Williams was promoted to starting running back. In the next game, the annual Deep South's Oldest Rivalry contest against the University of Georgia, he led Auburn to a 24–17 victory as he amassed 167 yards on a then Auburn record 41 carries, caught four passes for 71 yards and scored two touchdowns, one of which was the game winner.[5] (That record stood until Tre Mason had 46 carries and 304 yards against Missouri in the 2013 SEC Championship Game.[6]) Williams was injured early in the bitter in-state rivalry game against the University of Alabama (also known as the Iron Bowl) with a broken collar bone and had to sit out the rest of the season. In his freshman season, Williams played in nine games and finished with 614 yards on 120 carries (5.1 avg.) and six touchdowns.[7]

The 2002 season started out as a promising season for Williams. Unfortunately, it also ended prematurely for him when he broke his lower left fibula against Florida and missed the last six games of the season. He amassed 745 yards on 141 attempts (5.3 avg.) and 10 touchdowns in only seven games prior to the injury.[8]

In 2003, Williams was told that he would share the load at the running back position with Ronnie Brown. Brown had completed a stellar season the previous year after picking up the starting role when Williams went down with a broken ankle. However, Brown pulled a hamstring early on in the year and sat out most of the rest of the season, leaving Williams as the sole starting running back. Williams went on to have a sensational season setting an Auburn single-season record with 17 touchdowns, and gaining a career-high 1,307 yards on 241 attempts (5.4 avg.). The 2003 season was an important season for Williams because it showed that he could stay healthy and excel on the field on his own.[9] His highlight of the season was breaking an 80-yard touchdown run on the first play of scrimmage against Alabama.[10]

In 2004, Williams decided to return for his senior year at Auburn. This turned out to be a wise decision as he, along with quarterback Jason Campbell, Brown and others, helped lead the Tigers to an SEC Championship and Sugar Bowl winning season, finishing with a perfect 13–0 record and a controversial #2 ranking behind the University of Southern California. Williams went on to earn All-American honors and was named to the All-SEC first-team as both a running back and return specialist. He led the team in rushing for the third time with 1,165 yards on 239 carries (4.9 avg.) and scored 12 touchdowns. He finished the season with 1,718 all-purpose yards, the third highest single-season output in Auburn school history. Williams also threw one touchdown pass against Georgia. Some argue that Williams' senior year performance was not as good statistically (4.9-yard rushing average for example, the lowest in his college career) as his others because of poor blocking, while others argue that it was because defenses focused on him specifically.[11]

Williams finished his collegiate career with 3,831 yards on 741 attempts (5.2 yards per attempt) and 45 touchdowns, breaking the all-time Auburn career records of most rushing attempts by Joe Cribbs (657), and most touchdowns by Bo Jackson (43), while finishing second in total rushing yards in a career behind Bo Jackson. His career total of 5,033 all-purpose yards also ranks second in school history behind James Brooks.[12]

Williams also has the distinction of earning nine SEC Player of the Week honors in his career, the most in conference history.

At Auburn, Williams majored in sociology. He returned to Auburn to finish the final coursework necessary for a sociology degree in December 2014.

Williams evades a tackler at Auburn.

Collegiate statistics

Season Team GP Rushing
Att Yds Avg Lng TD Y/G
2001 Auburn 9 120 614 5.1 55 6 68.2
2002 Auburn 7 141 745 5.3 65 10 106.4
2003 Auburn 13 241 1,307 5.4 80 17 100.5
2004 Auburn 13 239 1,165 4.9 36 12 89.6
Career 42 741 3,831 5.2 80 45 91.5

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
5 ft 10+78 in
(1.80 m)
217 lb
(98 kg)
30+58 in
(0.78 m)
8+14 in
(0.21 m)
4.43 s 1.59 s 2.63 s 4.17 s 6.95 s 35+12 in
(0.90 m)
9 ft 10 in
(3.00 m)
19 reps
All values from NFL Combine[13][14]

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Williams entered the 2005 NFL Draft and was selected with the fifth pick of the first round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.[15] He signed a five-year contract worth $31 million.

Jeff Reynolds of Pro Football Weekly predicted Williams was the rookie most likely to have the greatest impact in the 2005 NFL season, writing that "at the Senior Bowl, Jon Gruden was salivating over this kid. He pulled him out real early. Don't think that was a coincidence. He's the offense. Gruden has set it up, Cadillac or bust".

The first half of the season for Williams was an up and down affair. Williams rushed for 434 yards in his first three weeks, setting records as the first rookie running back to ever have three consecutive 100 yard games, and rushing for the most yards in the first three weeks of a career, a record previously held by Alan Ameche of the 1955 Baltimore Colts. Williams was also named rookie of the week for the first three weeks of the season and rookie of the month for September. His shoes and gloves from week three were subsequently retired to the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.[16] In week four however, Williams dealt with injuries to his ankle and arch in his right foot, causing him to miss two weeks. In the next four games he played, including the game in which he was injured, Williams only rushed for a combined 82 yards on limited carries. However, in his next four games, he averaged over 100 yards per game (408). In his rookie season, Williams tallied six 100-yard games in 14 starts, and led all rookies in total rushing yards (1,178), rookie of the week honors (3), and finished second, behind Brandon Jacobs for rushing touchdowns (6).

On January 4, 2006, Williams was awarded the Associated Press NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. He drew 47 votes of a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the NFL. He beat former running mate Ronnie Brown of Miami, who received one vote. Tight end Heath Miller of Pittsburgh and offensive lineman Logan Mankins of New England also received one vote. On February 2, 2006, Williams was announced as the NFL Rookie of the Year Award winner based on the votes of over 1,000,000 visitors to

Williams was unable to match the success of his rookie campaign in the 2006 NFL season, as he failed to reach the 1,000 yard mark. His reduced production was attributed to poor offensive line play and an injury that nagged him all year.


In October 2007, Williams suffered a torn patellar tendon to his right knee against Carolina, which required surgery and ended his season. Doctors were doubtful he would come back to full strength after this devastating injury. Williams, however, said that he had "no doubt" that he would play in 2008.

In mid-season of 2008, Williams began practicing with the team and was listed as questionable on the official injury report. In November, he was taken off the Physically Unable to Perform list and added to the active roster. He played in his first game in 14 months against Detroit. On November 30 against the Saints, he scored his first touchdown since his return. One month later, however, during the final game of the season on December 28, Williams suffered another torn patellar tendon, this time in his left knee.

The second tear was not as severe as the first, but Williams again endured surgery and an intense period of rehab to get back on the field. He returned to game action during the 2009 preseason and was the Bucs' starting running back to open the regular season, becoming the first NFL player to return from patellar tendon tears in both knees.[17] On December 27, Williams had his first 100-yard rushing game in two seasons for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and finished with 823 yards, the second highest total of his NFL career.. Williams was narrowly edged for the AP 2009 Comeback Player of the Year Award by Tom Brady, finishing second with 15 votes. He rushed for 821 yards on 210 carries with a 3.9 average and four touchdowns. He also caught 29 passes for 219 yards and 3 touchdowns.

After Williams' turnaround 2009 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season, in which he played in all 16 games for the first time in his career, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had high hopes for their former National Football League Rookie of the Year Award winner. However, due to the emergence of undrafted rookie sensation LeGarrette Blount, Williams found himself cemented as primarily the third down running back for the latter half of the 2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season. Williams was used as a passing threat on third down and finished the season with 46 receptions for 355 yards and one touchdown (a come-from-behind, game-winning catch from Josh Freeman with ten seconds left in the fourth quarter on October 24, 2010, against the St. Louis Rams). He finished the 2010 NFL season with 125 rushing attempts for 437 yards and two touchdowns (one against the San Francisco 49ers and one against the Carolina Panthers), helping his team to a 10–6 record. The Buccaneers missed the 2010-11 NFL playoffs and Williams became an unrestricted free agent in 2011.

St. Louis Rams

On August 3, 2011, Williams signed with the St. Louis Rams to be the backup for Steven Jackson. In the 2011 regular season opener, Williams had 91 yards on 19 carries against the Philadelphia Eagles. Williams rushed effectively throughout the season for St. Louis, mainly in a backup capacity. He finished the year with 361 rushing yards and 4.1 yards per carry. He also scored one rushing touchdown, in the final game of the season against the San Francisco 49ers.[18]

NFL career statistics

Year Team GP Rushing Receiving
Att Yds Avg Lng TD Y/G Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Y/G
2005 TB 14 290 1,178 4.1 71 6 84.1 20 81 4.1 15 0 6.2
2006 TB 14 225 798 3.5 38 1 57.0 30 196 6.5 21 0 14.0
2007 TB 4 54 208 3.9 38 3 52.0 3 17 5.6 6 0 4.3
2008 TB 6 63 233 3.7 28 4 38.8 7 43 6.1 25 0 7.2
2009 TB 16 211 832 3.9 35 4 51.3 28 217 7.8 22 3 13.5
2010 TB 16 125 437 3.5 45 2 27.3 46 355 7.7 20 1 22.2
2011 STL 11 87 361 4.1 23 1 30.1 14 93 6.6 16 0 7.8
Total 81 1,055 4,047 3.8 71 21 50.0 148 1,002 6.8 25 4 12.4

Coaching career

Williams served as an offensive graduate assistant at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia, for the 2016 season.[19] Williams later served as the running backs coach for the newly created IMG White football team at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.[20]

In 2018, Williams became the running backs coach for the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football.[21] On January 23, 2019, he was hired as Auburn's running backs coach under head coach Gus Malzahn.[22] Williams acknowledges and expresses gratitude for Malzahn's early mentoring in his career.[23] Auburn fired Malzahn after the 2020 season; new head coach Bryan Harsin retained Williams as running backs coach.[24] On October 31, 2022, Auburn fired Harsin and named Williams the interim head coach.[25] On November 12, 2022, Williams won his first game as a head coach, a 13–10 victory over Texas A&M.[26] Williams, who finished the 2022 regular season at 2–2 as interim head coach, was retained as an assistant by Hugh Freeze when Freeze was named the permanent head coach on November 28.[27] Williams resigned from Auburn following the 2023 season.[28]

On February 17, 2024, Williams was hired as the Raiders running back coach after the Raiders did not retain Kennedy Polamalu and when Deshaun Foster backed out to replace Polamalu to become the UCLA Bruins head coach

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Auburn Tigers (Southeastern Conference) (2022)
2022 Auburn 2–2[a] 1–2 T–6th (Western)
Auburn: 2–2 1–2
Total: 2–2
  1. ^ Williams replaced Bryan Harsin after eight games.

Personal life

Williams is a Christian.[29] He is married and has two sons.[30]


  1. ^ Cole, Adam (October 31, 2022). "Carnell Williams named Auburn's interim head coach". Retrieved November 1, 2022.
  2. ^ Wood, Skip (April 24, 2005). "Unique bond of Auburn RBs". USA Today.
  3. ^ Mike Tirico, ESPN Monday Night Football, December 8, 2008
  4. ^ "Auburn vs. Arkansas". USA Today. October 27, 2001.
  5. ^ "Auburn vs Georgia". November 10, 2001. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  6. ^ "Missouri vs Auburn". December 7, 2013. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  7. ^ "Auburn Tigers Overall Team Statistics". Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  8. ^ "Auburn Tigers Overall Team Statistics". Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  9. ^ "Auburn Overall Team Statistics". Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  10. ^ Video on YouTube
  11. ^ "Official Athletics Site of the Auburn Tigers – Football". Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  12. ^ "Career History : C. Williams". January 10, 2005. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  13. ^ "Carnell Williams Draft Profile",, retrieved February 26, 2010
  14. ^ "Carnell "Cadillac" Williams Prospect Profile". NFL. Archived from the original on April 25, 2005.
  15. ^ "2005 NFL Draft Listing". Retrieved May 7, 2023.
  16. ^ "'Cadillac' Williams milestone preserved in Canton | Pro Football Hall of Fame Official Site". Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  17. ^ "Buccaneers' Williams Ready to Roll After Second Knee Injury in Two Years". The New York Times. August 17, 2009. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  18. ^ Thomas, Jim (August 3, 2011). "Cadillac rolls into St. Louis : Sports". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  19. ^ "Former Auburn RB Carnell Williams hired as GA at West Georgia". USA Today. April 22, 2016. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  20. ^ "IMG Academy to have two varsity football teams this fall". Bradenton Herald. June 8, 2017. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  21. ^ Inabinett, Mark (October 9, 2018). "Cadillac Williams joins Birmingham Iron coaching staff". The Birmingham News. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  22. ^ Marcello, Brandon (January 23, 2019). "Cadillac Williams hired as running backs coach". Auburn Undercover. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  23. ^ Marcello, Brandon (January 23, 2019). "Cadillac Williams returning to Auburn as Gus Malzahn's running backs coach". Montgomeryadvertiser. Retrieved July 20, 2023.
  24. ^ Vitale, Josh (March 17, 2021). "Auburn assistant coach contract details". Montgomery Advertiser. p. B2. Retrieved November 1, 2022 – via
  25. ^ Wilborn, Nubyjas (October 31, 2022). "Sources: Auburn tabs Carnell 'Cadillac' Williams as interim head football coach". al. Retrieved October 31, 2022.
  26. ^ Heim, Mark (November 13, 2022). "Carnell Williams gets emotional after first win: Auburn 'ain't dead. We comin'". al. Retrieved November 15, 2022.
  27. ^ Low, Chris (November 28, 2022). "Auburn hires 'the best fit,' chooses Hugh Freeze as next coach". Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  28. ^ Rittenberg, Adam (January 12, 2024). "Auburn running backs coach Williams resigning". Retrieved January 13, 2024.
  29. ^ Mercer, Kevin (November 30, 2022). "New Auburn football coach Hugh Freeze, assistant Cadillac Williams stay rooted in Christ". Sports Spectrum. Retrieved December 8, 2022.
  30. ^ "CARNELL WILLIAMS". Retrieved December 8, 2022.