FAYETTEVILLE – Former University of Arkansas tight end D.J. Williams, the first Razorback in school history to be named a finalist for the AAU James E. Sullivan Memorial Award, attended the award ceremony in New York City on Monday evening.
Evan Lysacek, who won a gold medal in men’s figure skating at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, won the award presented at Monday night’s ceremony. The other four finalists were Williams, water skier Regina Jaquess, Nevada women’s basketball player Tahnee Robinson and baton twirler Karrissa Wimberley.
"We are extremely proud of D.J. and his many accomplishments," Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. "Throughout his collegiate career, D.J. garnered positive recognition for our program, the University of Arkansas and our state. To be recognized as one of the top five amateur athletes in the country is truly an extraordinary honor."
Williams and the other finalists stayed at the historic New York Athletic Club, which was founded in 1868 to grow and develop amateur sports in the United States. All festivities surrounding the awards presentation were held at the NYAC, which is located across the street from the south edge of Central Park.
In addition to Monday’s ceremony, the finalists and their families also spent time at the NYAC for two dinners, media interviews, an autograph session and a dessert hour following the ceremony.
Presented annually since 1930, the Sullivan Award honors the nation’s most outstanding amateur athlete and is based on leadership, character and sportsmanship. Past winners include Michael Phelps, Michael Johnson, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Carl Lewis, Edwin Moses, Michelle Kwan and Mark Spitz.
Williams ended his Arkansas career this past season as part of the first team in school history to play in a BCS game. The Little Rock, Ark., native had 152 career receptions, the second-highest total in school history and the most by a non-wide receiver, and 1,855 receiving yards, which ranks eighth on UA’s all-time list. He won the Disney Spirit Award, which is given to the most inspirational player, team or figure in college football, on Nov. 15 and was named the Mackey Award Winner as the nation’s top tight end on Dec. 9. He was the first Razorback to win either award.
In his final season, Williams led the team with 54 receptions, the fourth-highest single-season total in school history, and accounted for 627 receiving yards and a career-high four touchdowns. He was named first-team All-SEC by the Associated Press and the conference’s coaches and also was named to the SEC Community Service Team. His 4.2 receptions-per-game average ranked seventh in the SEC in 2010.