The Morning Stake: Devaugntah Williams Overcomes; DeAndre Washington’s Career

Overcoming So Much. Pretty neat article from Devaugntah Williams’ hometown paper, the CantonRep, catching up with Williams. I had no idea about this:

Williams grew up without his father, Howard Williams, who has spent most of his son’s life in prison. Williams watched his brother, former McKinley football star Disi Alexander, fall into a life of criminal activity.

There are plenty of great athletes who never escape Canton’s streets. Williams seems determined to avoid the trap.

“He’s found a way out,” Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith said. “He’s on target to get a degree and get an education, which will probably be the first in his family to get a college degree.”

That’s good stuff, and I recommend that article, for sure.

Q&A With Gray. LAJ’s Krista Pirtle does a good Q&A with SF Justin Gray:

Q: What’s the biggest lesson that coach Tubby Smith has taught you since you’ve been here?

A: Definitely become a better defensive player because I know he takes pride in that. He’s taught me how to move a lot quicker on defense with my feet, how to guard different positions. I can guard a piont guard. Then I’d have to measure my distance against them and use my length more. He taught me how to use my length more, how to correctly block a shot depending on which side it is. There’s a lot of different aspects that he’s taught me. It’s a long process. There have been a lot a lot of mistakes I’ve made and I’ve learned. I’m a better person because of it.

Murray to Oklahoma. Via Sports On Earth, Oklahoma announced on Christmas Eve that former Texas A&M quarterback Kyler Murray announced that he will be joining the Sooners. He’ll have to sit out the 2016 season, but he will be eligible for the 2017 season. Personally, I never wanted Murray at Texas Tech, if that was even an option. I honestly have no idea. The thought of yet another helicopter dad being ever-present wasn’t appealing, plus, I’m pretty happy with the quarterback talent that is projected at Texas Tech. They won’t have the stars that go with their names, but I’m still okay with that. I’d also add that Murray is a bit of a different quarterback than Lincoln Riley typically has, not a big arm at all, but a ton of athletic potential. The arm is relatively important. He threw for a ton of yards in Allen, over 4,700 in Allen with 54 touchdowns and 10 yards per attempt. I wonder if this has more to do with the strength of Allen’s football team vs. Murray’s talent. Of course the other part of this is that Riley could be long gone, at a head coach somewhere, by the time Murray hits the field, which I would probably expect.

It Takes Time. RRS’s Will McKay writes about RB DeAndre Washington and his journey at Texas Tech. Here’s a bit about Washington making it back his knee injury:

“Man. It was a grind, man. We’re talking late nights, early mornings, long nights, just a grind. I had a lot of free time on my hands, so I was just constantly trying to do some things just to get back on the field, just working with the strength and conditioning coaches. Just to sum it up, it was a grind, honestly.”

We often look back on the adversity in our life and laugh a little bit. In retrospect, the toughest issues to work and fight through end up paying off the most in the long run towards success. Washington certainly believes that about his knee injury when taking perspective on what it eventually molded him into.

“More so, it just helped me mentally. I think it definitely built me, made me stronger mentally more than anything. Of course, it was really important to do a whole lot of rehab, but mentally it was a big thing because I’d never had an injury like that before. It definitely helped build me mentally. The injury happened, and I wouldn’t change it for nothing. If I could go back and do it, I wouldn’t redo it at all.”

Lots more there and good stuff, so check it out.

Duffey is the Star-Telegram Offensive Player of the Year. Via the Star-Telegram, first it was Houston Miller nabbing the Star-Telegram Defensive Player of the Year and now it is Jett Duffey earning Offensive Player of the Year honors:

Duffey also had a terrific postseason run, accounting for another 1,738 yards and 17 total touchdowns in six games. He finished his senior year with 4,405 yards of total offense and 49 total touchdowns, running and passing.

“I’m so proud of him, not just in football, but academically and his character,” Thor said. “It’s great for Texas Tech, they are getting someone that they don’t have to worry about. It’s a tremendous honor and he’s a great football player.”

From his freshman year when the varsity went winless, to his sophomore year as district Newcomer of the Year for a two-win team, Duffey knew the program was on the rise. He was first team all-district last season as a junior.

“I definitely could’ve imagined it. Since Day One when I met coach Thor and what he preached to today, everyone was working hard every day and in the summer, so I already knew this program would eventually take off,” he said.

Replacing Jakeem. RRS’s Michael DuPont writes about who will replace Jakeem Grant next year (and partly about who will replace Devin Lauderdale this game). Head coach Kliff Kingsbury talked a bit about Derrick Willies and De’Quan Bowman:

“Yeah, Coach [Chiaverini] developed an incredible relationship with him. Nic Shimonek was his teammate at Iowa, they have a great relationship,” Kingsbury said. “I think Derrick understands what we’ve done, offensively; the way we’ve thrown the ball, traditionally. You look at his stats they don’t lie. He has an incredible opportunity to come in and put up big numbers immediately.”

Miscellaneous. The ESPN Big 12 Blog Bros hand out Christmas gifts to the teams and players in the Big 12. This was sorta weird in that I think the idea was good, but the delivery was strange, i.e., Chatmon wants to give Texas Tech a win over LSU for Christmas . . . LAJ’s Don Williams writes about the few players who are from SEC country and who they rooted for growing up . . .

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