Charles Goldberg from AuburnTigers.com broke the news to the Auburn Family and the college football world tonight that Auburn has dismissed senior Wide Receiver D'haquille "Duke" Williams from the football team.
In his statement, Gus Malzahn said that "When individuals fail to meet the expectations of our program, there has to be consequences. I gave D'haquille the chance to prove himself. I am disappointed that it did not work out."
No further explanation was given for Duke's dismissal. It was not brought up during Gus Malzahn's weekly "Tiger Talk" appearance earlier this evening, but that is not really a tell as to whether or not it had already happened. One does wonder, though.
Duke's troubles have been well documented while at Auburn. He was suspended for the Outback Bowl game for undisclosed reasons, though an Instagram post of him with a black eye and rumors of a fight outside of a local bar were rumored to be the cause. He was suspended from the team for a portion of pre-season practice for undisclosed reasons, as well.
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.
We wish Duke all the best. I sincerely hope that whatever issues he may have, he is able to clear them all up and go on to a bright future. He is an amazingly gifted athlete with a lot of promise.
On the other hand, I have to give props to Gus Malzahn. In the face of so much criticism about the offense in general and the passing game in particular, he stuck to his word that Duke was down to his last chance. He cuts his star wide receiver at a time when Auburn is struggling on offense.
The season certainly got a bit more interesting with this. I don't know where we'll go from here, but if there were issues surrounding Duke that were causing issues with the team as a whole, then this had to be done. I think many expected - though certainly none of us hoped - that this would ultimately be how his time at Auburn ended.
Good luck in the future, Duke. We'll always be pulling for you to do great things wherever you may end up.