FAYETTEVILLE – Former University of Arkansas tight end D.J. Williams became the first Razorback in school history to be named a finalist for the AAU James E. Sullivan Memorial Award on Thursday, as the list of five finalists for the 81st annual award was announced. The winner will be named at a ceremony at the New York Athletic Club on March 14.
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.
"We are extremely proud that D.J. Williams has been named a finalist for the prestigious AAU James E. Sullivan Memorial Award," Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. "D.J. is a tremendous example of how a student-athlete can excel on the field, in the classroom and in the community. He has used the attention he garnered as one of the nation’s best football players as an opportunity to raise awareness of domestic abuse. His story continues to provide others with inspiration and hope as they face adversity in their own lives. D.J. represents the very best of the Razorback program and the University of Arkansas."
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.
"I would like to congratulate D.J. on being a finalist for the Sullivan Award," University of Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino said. "It was a pleasure to be able to coach him because he exemplifies all of the qualities the award represents. D.J.’s leadership was instrumental in the success we had on the field this past season, and his strong moral character will continue to show the players in our program what it means to be a Razorback."
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.
81st Annual AAU James E. Sullivan Memorial Award FinalistsRegina Jaquess, USA Water SkiingEvan Lysacek, USA Men’s Figure SkatingTahnee Robinson, Nevada Women’s BasketballD.J. Williams, Arkansas FootballKarrissa Wimberley, USA Baton Twirling