Former Auburn WR Duke, aka D'haquille, Williams is trying out for the Rams on Friday per NFL Network's Rand Getlin:
I'm told former #Auburn WR Duke Williams is scheduled to get into Los Angeles on Friday and will be attending a tryout with the #Rams.— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) May 3, 2016
Williams had, well, a notable career at Auburn. As a top JUCO prospect in the 2013 recruiting class, Williams first committed to LSU before opting out and heading to Auburn. Williams immediately impressed in his first game with nine receptions, one for a TD, and 154 receiving yards against Arkansas. An MCL injury held him back mid-season, but Williams established himself as one of the top WR prospects to keep an eye on for NFL scouts with his performance in the Iron Bowl with a seven-reception, 121-yard showing against an Alabama defense that was, per usual, stacked with NFL talent.
Quickly, though, the wheels started coming off...off the field. Williams missed eight days of practices leading up to the Outback Bowl that season coupled with a bizarre Instagram post that showed him with a black eye that was quickly deleted. Williams would be suspended by the team and miss the 2015 Outback Bowl.
Hype started building behind Williams.
ESPN's Todd McShay mocked him to the Rams in an early 2016 mock draft. He was picking up preseason acknowledgements at the college level. And then...
A dustup with his position coach in a practice in August pushed him to the bottom of the depth chart. He lost the trust of his teammates after becoming what one source on the team called a "locker room cancer." And another brawl at a bar in October in which he injured his own teammate sealed the deal.
Williams was kicked off the team, with this coming from our SB Nation Auburn site:
While expected to have a monster year catching passes from Jeremy Johnson, he ends the season with only 12 catches for 147 yards and a single touchdown. The high expectations for Duke - on the watch list for multiple awards in the pre season - are just another part of the Auburn football season that did not pan out.
This is one of the biggest disappointments I can imagine. For a young man with so much promise, he also seemed to often be troubled. There was a well publicized series of tweets earlier in the year that indicated he was unhappy, but that appeared to be cleared up. You just can't help but hate for someone expected to be a first round pick to have their final season in college football end like this.
The question is if he can recapture the promise he offered in that 2014 season on the field. There's no doubt Williams had NFL ability. Big time NFL ability. But there's also no doubt he was not only holding himself back, but becoming a problem for the rest of the Auburn team and the program as a whole.
For a player who called himself a first-round talent on the field with "seventh-round character", there are no easy answers.
But for someone we tabbed more than a year ago as a credible target for the Rams, he's at least been given a shot.
That might be more than he deserves.