It's hard for Karl Williams to think of a time when he was more excited to see his name spelled out in front of him.
The former Utes running back has been waiting for recognition his entire football career. And it's starting to pick up only a week away from the NFL Draft. The one-time walk-on is one of the top five graded fullbacks on NFL.com, first appearing on the site days ago.
"It's going great right now for me," he said. "Personally, this is one of the best moments of my life."
Williams, 23, has been reveling in some attention since his Pro Day, when he ran a 4.5-second 40 at six feet and 243 pounds. Walking on might've been the best gift he could've gotten in his Utah career: With his special teams experience in addition to his rushing ability and his soft hands out of the backfield, teams are interested to see what the big back with modest college stats can do for them.
"At Utah I played on special teams all four years I was there, and that's something I have to bring to the table," he said. "Typical NFL fullbacks play a lot on special teams, and they don't just block anymore. There's more receiving, too. And I fit that breed. I can do a lot more than the average fullback."
Williams recently moved out of his own apartment to live with his parents, in anticipation of having to move across the country when a call comes next Saturday. He still commutes every day to John Madsen Performance in Sandy to work out: "There's a lot of Utes down there."
His family may be floating even higher than he is. His father, David Williams, looks up every fullback ranking list he can find online, constantly monitoring where his son might end up. Although Karl's brother-in-law, Kavika Fonua is going to BYU this fall, the two have a lot of friendly conversations about if they'll meet again in the NFL.
On Saturday, Williams said he'll have a family barbeque while watching the draft. He's hoping he'll get a call in the late rounds, but he's fine going as a free agent as well. With his wife, Kiana Williams, and his one-year-old son, Kale, he's looking forward to seeing what the future holds.
"We're just excited that this whole time, we've known I've had this talent," he said. "Now we're excited about getting a fair shot at something in the NFL."
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