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42 Days to Kickoff! - Duke Williams

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Oh, what could have been...

NCAA Football: Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game-Louisville vs Auburn Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

As we continue our march to kickoff, we take a look at the top 100 recruits to sign with Auburn of all-time*. The rankings are based on 247’s composite recruit rankings, which unfortunately only date back to 2000.

THE RECRUIT

The curious case of D’haquille “Duke” Williams. After heading to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Auburn won out over LSU in a battle for the nation’s top junior college prospect. He caught 26 touchdowns over his two seasons in JC, and then headed to the Plains for the 2014 season. An imposing target, he made an immediate impact for the Auburn Tigers in 2014.

THE PLAYER

In his first game, he got to play with Jeremy Johnson as Nick Marshall had been suspended for the first half after an offseason arrest. The 2014 opener against Arkansas saw Duke Williams grab 9 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown, and he helped to create the legend of Jeremy Johnson with his play in the first half.

Williams ended up becoming the team’s second-leading receiver in 2014 with 45 catches for 730 yards and 5 touchdowns. He had huge games in the wins over Kansas State and Ole Miss, and also stood out in losses at Mississippi State and Alabama. His magnetic hands made for highlight reel catches, and he was an almost automatic first down when he ran the slant.

He did not play in the bowl game against Wisconsin, an overtime loss in the Outback Bowl, but was back with the team to start 2015. Auburn had high hopes for the combo of Williams and Johnson, but in the first five games of the year, he caught just 12 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown. After the win over San Jose State on 10/3/15, he was dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules, which turned out to be him going berserk and punching everyone in sight downtown one night.

Still, he had some bonkers highlights.

He caught on with the Rams in the NFL and got signed for a three year deal after going undrafted in 2016, but he ended up being waived after final roster cuts. He spent time in the CFL, finally leading the league in yards as a receiver for Edmonton last year. Earlier this January, he signed on with the Buffalo Bills, and should be a part of the squad this season when they start fall camp.