Firsthand experience helps Williams

Aeris Williams rushed for 206 yards and three touchdowns as a redshirt freshman this past fall. (AP Photo/Jim Lytle)

Aeris Williams rushed for 206 yards and three touchdowns as a redshirt freshman this past fall. (AP Photo/Jim Lytle)

Aeris Williams learned a lot during his redshirt season at Mississippi State in 2014.

But the former Mr. Football from the state of Mississippi admits the experience he got on the field this past fall far surpassed the knowledge he gained from the sidelines.

“It was a blessing to be back out there on the field,” Williams said. “I learned a lot during my redshirt year from the upperclassmen guys but being out there and learning for yourself is a lot better. The more plays I get the more comfortable I am to the game.”

Williams appeared in all 13 games this past season finishing fourth on the team in rushing. He carried 40 times for 206 yards and three touchdowns averaging 5.2 yards per carry while also catching six passes for 18 more yards.

Williams’ best outing came at Missouri, where he rushed six times for 46 yards. He also had a 33-yard touchdown run in the Bulldogs’ Belk Bowl win over N.C. State.

Williams worked primarily as the Bulldogs’ third tailback behind Brandon Holloway and Ashton Shumpert during the year.

MSU’s running game struggled with consistency in 2015 and is something Williams believes he and the rest of the backs can remedy moving forward.

“We’re going to get it clicking,” Williams said. “We’re going to go out there, have fun and not think too much. As long as we run behind our offensive linemen we’ll be straight.”

The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder has put up 15-pounds since his arrival. Williams believes the extra weight has helped him continue the same punishing running style he was known for at West Point, where he ran for 3,994 yards during his prep career.

“It’s all a mental thing,” Williams said. “If you have a great pad level and go out there with a killer edge, you’re good.”

Holloway, Shumpert, Williams and Dontavian Lee all return in the backfield and will battle with a pair of redshirt freshmen – Nick Gibson and Alec Murphy – starting in the spring.

“The guys that are coming up, Nick and Alec, are pretty tough runners,” Williams said. “Alec is a tough runner and Nick’s cuts are just so smooth. They’re going to be some great backs so in order for me to keep my place in this offense I have to keep getting better every practice and every game.”

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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