Sherman Williams
No. 20
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born: (1973-08-13) August 13, 1973 (age 48)
Mobile, Alabama
Height:5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight:202 lb (92 kg)
Career information
High school:Prichard (AL) Blount
NFL Draft:1995 / Round: 2 / Pick: 46
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:60
Rushing yards:1,162
Rush Attempts:302
Rushing TDs:4
Player stats at · PFR

Sherman Cedric Williams (born August 13, 1973) is a former American football running back who played in the National Football League (NFL) for the Dallas Cowboys; he was a member of their Super Bowl XXX team that defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played college football at the University of Alabama.

Early years

Williams attended Mattie T. Blount High School, where as a senior he became the first running back in Alabama prep history to rush for over 3,000 yards in a season, after registering 3,004 rushing yards, 307 carries and 31 touchdowns. He also received All-State honors, while leading his team to the Class 5A state title and receiving player of the year honors.[1]

College career

He accepted a football scholarship from the University of Alabama. As a freshman, he played in 8 games, tallying 108 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns.

As a sophomore, he was the team's fourth leading rusher behind Derrick Lassic, collecting 299 yards on 64 carries and 8 touchdowns. His best game came against Louisiana State University, when he rushed for 69 yards and 2 touchdowns on 10 carries. He was a member of the 1992 National Championship team. In the Sugar Bowl against the University of Miami, he had the first touchdown of the game, a two-yard run.

As a junior, he was named the starter in the third game in place of an injured Chris Anderson.[2] He never gave back the job and opened the season with five straight 100 rushing yard games. He posted 738 rushing yards with 9 touchdowns, including 148 yards on 24 carries against the University of Arkansas.

In his senior season he rushed for 1,341 yards (second in school history) and became only the fourth Bama player to reach 1,000 rushing yards in a season. His 291 carries broke the school record for a season and his 138.5 all-purpose yards-per-game ranked 16th best in the nation. He earned All-SEC and second-team All-American honors in 1994. In the Florida Citrus Bowl, he became the first Bama player to gain over 100 yards rushing and receiving in a postseason game, after posting 166 rushing yards on 27 carries and 8 receptions for 155 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown reception for the winning touchdown with 42 seconds remaining, in the 24-17 victory over Ohio State University.

Williams finished his college career with 2,486 rushing yards (fifth in school history), 535 carries (third in school history), 27 rushing touchdowns (fourth in school history) and 424 receiving yards and 2 receiving touchdowns. He is also remembered for his signature touchdown dance, the "Sherman Shake".[3]

Professional career

Entering the 1995 NFL draft, the Dallas Cowboys considered their roster so strong, that they drafted players based on their contributions as backups. The team traded their first round draft choice (#28-Derrick Brooks) to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for two second-round picks (#41-Ron Davis and #63-Shane Hannah). The Cowboys selected Williams with their first choice in the second round (46th overall), which was criticized by the media and quarterback Troy Aikman, for using a high selection on a backup player. As a rookie, he was a part of the Super Bowl XXX championship team. He tallied 205 rushing yards (second on the team) and one touchdown.

In 1996, he had 269 rushing yards. In 1997, he was expected to relieve more of Emmitt Smith's workload, but the additional playing time exposed him as fumble-prone, even though he had a career-high 468 rushing yards.

Williams was released during the 1998 offseason, after the team signed Chris Warren to be the backup running back to improve their depth.[4] When Warren strained his groin in preseason, the team re-signed Williams as insurance.[5] He contributed by being third on the team on special teams tackles (17) and while Warren's injury forced him to miss eight regular season games, Williams stepped up against the New York Giants in Week 3, when he rushed for 61 yards on 20 carries (including an 18-yard touchdown run) and in the final game of the regular season against the Washington Redskins, when he rushed for 90 yards on 23 carries and also caught three passes for 19 yards.

In the spring of 1999, Williams played for the Mobile Admirals of the short-lived Regional Football League. The Admirals were league champions, and Williams was named league MVP.[6] In the 1999 NFL preseason, after the Cowboys third team running back (Tarik Smith) suffered a season-ending knee surgery, Williams was once more re-signed, but was eventually released after the first game of the regular season.

Personal life

In 2000, Williams was sentenced to 15 years and 8 months in prison, for three counts of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and a separate plea for passing counterfeit currency.[7] Saying that his time as a professional football player toughened him, Williams said in a prison interview, "You know, I would think that things that would kill the average man wouldn't even make me flinch".[8] He was incarcerated on April 20, 2000. He was released on March 1, 2014.

After his release from prison, Williams started a community assistance program for disadvantaged children and returned to the University of Alabama, receiving his degree in May 2018.[9]


  1. ^ "'Crimson Cowboy' Sherman Williams hopes his new book will change lives". September 16, 2015. Retrieved February 19, 2022.
  2. ^ "THE TOP 25; Wuerffel Is Wonderful As Gators Beat Vols". The New York Times. September 19, 1993. Retrieved February 19, 2022.
  3. ^ "Touchdown dance by Williams now called 'Sherman's shake'". Retrieved February 19, 2022.
  4. ^ "Warren deal could mean end for walker, Williams". Retrieved February 19, 2022.
  5. ^ "Hostetler won't require surgery". Retrieved February 19, 2022.
  6. ^ "Sherman still shakin' it up". June 23, 1995. Retrieved February 19, 2022.
  7. ^ "Sherman Williams fell from gridiron glory to federal prison". December 23, 2012. Retrieved February 19, 2022.
  8. ^ "Jailed ex-Cowboy Sherman Williams is ... BIDING HIS TIME". The Dallas Morning News. Associated Press. July 25, 2006. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved January 26, 2022.
  9. ^ Inabinett, Mark (May 3, 2018). "For the simple purpose of being an example, Sherman Williams completes Alabama degree". Retrieved May 5, 2022.