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Williams willing to share

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Ryan Williams has no problem with the possibility of being in a timeshare situation at running back in the NFL.

He did, however, fear that a similar situation in college could present a problem in the pursuit of his NFL dream.

That's one of the reasons why Williams, a standout in a three-back rotation at Virginia Tech last season, decided to turn pro with two seasons of eligibility remaining.

"I had to be stingy so I could be picked as highly as I wanted to be," said Williams, considered a potential second-rounder in the April draft. "In a three-back rotation, I'd probably just keep dropping."

Williams certainly understands the value of featuring more than one running back in light of the wear and tear absorbed at the position. The Panthers have featured DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart in tandem for the last three seasons, and over that time it's become a commonplace approach throughout the NFL.

"The position I play is one of the most physical positions if not the most physical position," Ryan Williams said. "So being able to have fresh legs and being able to make your career last longer by subbing in with another guy who's fresh and who can be just as productive as you, it makes it a lot better."

While running back rotations serve NFL teams well, they might not be the most beneficial setup for running backs in college trying to make their way into the NFL.

Williams was a one-man wrecking crew in the Virginia Tech backfield in 2009, piling up 1,655 yards and 21 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman after running mate Darren Evans suffered a preseason knee injury.

Last season, however, with Evans back and David Wilson emerging – and with a hamstring injury sidelining Williams for four games – he totaled 477 yards and nine touchdowns.

"Getting just five to 10 carries a game doesn't really help you that much," Williams said. "You're not getting into the flow of the game."

Williams did derail any doubts that might be building among NFL scouts when he bounced back from the hamstring injury with a 14-carry, 142-yard performance at Miami.

"I think that did a lot for my profile," he said. "Having limited carries and playing time because of the three-back rotation, that really helped out a lot. I was able to get 13 or 14 carries, and I was able to do something with them and prove myself against a big and fast defense."

That late-season performance may have made Williams' decision to turn pro easier, but in reality, it's always been a matter of time.

"A lot of things went into the decision, but the main thing was to pursue my dream, and I feel like I've got a great opportunity this year," Williams said. "This has been my dream since I was six years old, the only thing I've ever wanted to do in life - period.

"I told my mom when I was eight that I just wanted one job, that I only wanted to receive one check, and that was from the NFL."

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