Former Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams was selected by the L.A. Chargers as the No. 7 overall pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft on Thursday at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia, Pa.
Williams is the third former Clemson receiver in the last five years to be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. Deandre Hopkins was taken at No. 27 overall by the Houston Texans in the 2013 draft, while Sammy Watkins was the fourth player selected in 2014.
“Mike Williams is all about separation with length, power and catch radius,” NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said. “He is a dominating physical presence. He is a back shoulder guy and you will love him in the red zone.”
Williams is coming off of one of the best seasons a Clemson wide receiver has ever had. He led the Tigers with 98 receptions for 1,361 yards, while scoring 11 touchdowns – just the fourth Clemson wideout in history to catch at least 10 touchdowns in a season.
The Vance, S.C., native finished his college career as one of Clemson’s most decorated wide receivers in history.
In his three seasons in Tigertown, Williams compiled 177 receptions for 2,727 yards and 21 touchdowns in 42 games, including 30 starts. He finished third in Clemson history in receiving touchdowns, fourth in receiving yards and fifth in receptions.
Of course in 2016, Williams came back from a severe neck injury that nearly ended his career. In the season-opener against Wofford in 2015, the 6-foot-4, 218-pound wide receiver was pushed into the goal post where he fractured his C6 vertebra.
Williams had to miss the entire 2015 season and watched from the sidelines as his team went through one of the most historic runs in Clemson football history as they started the year 14-0 and made it to the national championship game.
However, Williams worked hard to get back in 2016, and once again the Tigers went on a historical run which ended with the culmination of the national championship, the program’s first in 35 years.
Williams not only helped the Tigers win the program’s first national championship since 1981, but he played a major role in doing so. His miraculous 26-yard reception against Alabama on the next to last scoring drive in the national championship game set up a Clemson touchdown that gave the Tigers their first lead, while his 24-yard leaping catch on the next drive propelled them on a game-winning drive for the ages.
In the Tigers’ 35-31 victory over Alabama, Williams caught eight passes for 94 yards, including a four-yard touchdown pass from Deshaun Watson for the first of three fourth-quarter touchdowns against the Crimson Tide defense.