No. 3: Andre Williams, RB, Boston College
Previous ranking: Not ranked.
Making the case: Steve Addazio promised his team would play a physical, smash-mouth style in his first year on the job with the Eagles. But it is safe to say not even he imagined how the season would play out for running back Andre Williams. Headed into 2013, Williams had never rushed for more than 600 yards in one season or carried the ball more than 130 times in a year, either. But all that changed as the Eagles rode him to the best turnaround season in the ACC.
Williams emerged as one of the best running backs in the nation, using a blend of physical running and deceptive speed to keep his opponents off balanced. Even when teams loaded the box, Boston College kept pounding the ball, believing Williams and the offensive line would wear down the opposition in time. That happened more often than not. Williams ended up as a unanimous first-team All-ACC selection, consensus All-American, Heisman Trophy finalist and Doak Walker Award winner after rushing for over 2,000 yards.
When the season began, nobody knew his name. By the time November rolled around, more folks across the nation started noticing what was going on in Chestnut Hill and his Heisman campaign picked up speed. In a three-game stretch between Nov. 9-Nov. 23, Williams had 897 yards rushing and six touchdowns. His final two games were not indicative of his fine season, as a shoulder injury slowed him down.
But in all, Williams set school records for rushing attempts (355) and rushing yards (2,177). That happens to be the fifth highest single-season rushing total in FBS history.