Derrick Williams
Williams during his tenure at Penn State.
No. 2, 12, 15
Position:Wide receiver
Personal information
Born: (1986-07-06) July 6, 1986 (age 34)
Washington, D.C.
Height:5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight:197 lb (89 kg)
Career information
High school:Greenbelt (MD) Roosevelt
College:Penn State
NFL Draft:2009 / Round: 3 / Pick: 82
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receiving yards:82
Receiving touchdowns:0
Player stats at

Derrick Williams (born July 6, 1986) is a former American football wide receiver. He was selected by the Detroit Lions with the 18th pick of the 3rd round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He was a wide receiver and 2008 team captain[1] for the Penn State Nittany Lions.

High school

Williams was widely regarded as the top high school football prospect of 2005, coming out of Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Maryland.[2] He received scholarship offers from more than 50 Division I schools. Relentless recruiting forced him to twice change his cell phone number.[2] He was named High School Junior of the Year in 2003, and was ranked as the number one recruit in the nation after his senior year.[3]

Williams initially leaned towards attending the University of Florida, but re-opened his recruitment after the firing of head coach Ron Zook.[2] He strongly considered offers from Texas, Oklahoma and Tennessee, before announcing live on ESPN that he would attend Penn State.[2] Penn State was coming off four losing seasons in five years, and head coach Joe Paterno was under increasing pressure to retire. Williams relished the challenge of returning the Penn State program to its former stature, saying "I did it because I trusted in [Paterno]. He promised me I could help turn the program around and leave my mark there, which I did."[2]

College career

As a true freshman, Williams was spectacular at quarterback, running back, and wide receiver. His touchdown catch late in Penn State's matchup with Northwestern that year won the Lions that game and was nominated for a Game-Changing Performance of the Year. It was part of an explosive, four-touchdown start that was cut short by a broken arm he suffered during the Nittany Lions' October 15, 2005 loss against the University of Michigan, the team's only loss that season.

The Sporting News named Williams to the freshman All-Big Ten Conference team despite having played just seven games in 2005. He was named to the preseason All-Big Ten second-team for the 2006 season by The Sporting News.[4]

In the 2006 year he returned at wide receiver for the Nittany Lions, but registered just two touchdowns all season. He played both running back and wideout in the Outback Bowl, helping Penn State to a 20-10 win against Tennessee.

He began the 2007 season with only 6 catches for 45 yards in his first two games, but had an electrifying 78-yard punt return touchdown against Notre Dame, his second career special teams touchdown. He ended the season with 55 receptions for 529 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also had 16 rushing attempts for 101 yards and a touchdown. He had a season high ten catches for 95 yards and one Touchdown vs. in a 26-19 win over Purdue.

Prior to the 2008 season, Williams was nominated to the Maxwell and Biletnikoff Award watchlists.[5]

Williams became the first player under the coaching of Joe Paterno to score a touchdown on a catch, run and kick return in the same game, when he accomplished the feat against the Illinois Fighting Illini on September 27, 2008. The Nittany Lions won the game 38-24.[6] Williams was named the Big Ten special teams player of the week following the Nittany Lions victory.[7] At the end of the 2008 season, he was named a first team All-Big Ten selection.[8] He ended the season with 44 catches for 485 yards and a career-high four touchdown receptions. In his final game, the 2009 Rose Bowl loss to Southern California, he had a fourth-quarter touchdown reception.

Professional career

2009 NFL Draft

At the 2009 NFL Combine, Williams ran 4.55 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He recorded a slower time than anticipated partly because he had the flu.[9] Williams was selected 82nd overall by the Detroit Lions. He is represented by fellow Penn-Stater Chafie Fields.

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
6 ft 0 in
(1.83 m)
194 lb
(88 kg)
4.6* s 2.65 s 1.54 s 4.21* s 6.96* s 33 in
(0.84 m)
9 ft 7 in
(2.92 m)
15 reps
All values from 2009 NFL Combine,[10] * indicates marks from Penn St's pro day on March 18, 2009 [11]

Detroit Lions

Williams was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the third round (#82 overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft. He signed a three-year contract with the team on July 29, 2009.[12] Williams was waived by the Lions on September 3, 2011.[13]

Pittsburgh Steelers

Williams was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers in January 2012. After playing in 4 pre-season games, he was released by the Steelers on August 31, 2012.

Toronto Argonauts

Williams signed with the Toronto Argonauts on March 13, 2013. He was released by the team on May 2, 2013.[14]

Personal life

Williams has a longtime friendship with former Nittany Lion linebacker LaVar Arrington. The two first met during Arrington's time with the Washington Redskins, when Williams was playing high school football in nearby Greenbelt, Maryland.[15] Arrington gave Williams the nickname "Jesus Shuttlesworth," after the lead character—a highly coveted high school recruit—in Spike Lee's He Got Game.[15]

Williams trained with an athletic group known as The Stable, with whom he has worked out since he was 10 years old, working on speed, agility, and endurance.[16]


  1. ^ "Nittany Lions Announce Captains for 2008 Season". Pennsylvania State University. Archived from the original on 2008-05-01. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
  2. ^ a b c d e Niyo, John (2009-05-09). "Derrick Williams has new program to revive". The Detroit News.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-09-05. Retrieved 2006-07-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Evans Named To Bednarik And Williams To Maxwell Award Watch Lists". Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics. 2008-07-01. Archived from the original on 2008-07-05. Retrieved 2008-09-29.
  6. ^ Ivan Maisel. "Williams' touchdown trifecta sparks Nittany Lions". Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  7. ^ "Michigan, Northwestern and Penn State Football Players Honored After Big Wins: Bachér, Graham and Williams pick up weekly football accolades". Big Ten Network. Archived from the original on 2008-10-01. Retrieved 2008-09-30.
  8. ^ "2008 All-Big Ten Conference Football Team: As selected by Conference Coaches" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-11-25.
  9. ^ Biggs, Brad (2009-02-22). "Wideout way out of range for Bears now after Heyward-Bey flies in 40". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 2009-02-26.
  10. ^ "NFL Events: Combine Top Performers".
  11. ^ url=
  12. ^ "Lions sign 3rd-round pick Williams to 3-year deal". Chicago Tribune. 2009-07-31.
  13. ^ "Lions waive WR Derrick Williams". Detroit Free Press. 2011-09-03.
  14. ^ "Transactions 2013". Archived from the original on November 1, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  15. ^ a b Langenbacher, Josh (2008-10-14). "Arrington tutors protégé Bowman". The Daily Collegian. Archived from the original on 2008-10-16. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  16. ^ Toney, Derek. "The Stable' draws a crowd". Retrieved 2007-07-19.