Now that former Auburn standout Carnell “Cadillac” Williams’ football career has been over for a few years, Williams felt like he had some unfinished business back at Auburn – in the classroom.
According to the Auburn Plainsman, Williams, a 2005 first-round draft pick who rushed for 3,831 yards and 45 touchdowns during his time at Auburn, has returned to school in order to complete his college degree.
“I had the thought a couple times during my playing career, but I always felt like once I was done with football I’d come back and finish my degree,” Williams said. “I only had seven hours left, so it would’ve been a shame not to finish that.”
So Williams, now 32, is back on campus taking classes to finish what he started 13 years ago. Two classes -- world literature and Spanish II – stand between him and his coveted degree in sociology. The literature course hasn’t been a problem for Williams, but jumping back into a foreign language class has understandably been an adjustment.
“I took Spanish I 11 or 12 years ago, and I need Spanish II to finish so that’s more difficult. Once you don’t use it, you tend to lose it. There’s definitely a transition period in coming back,” Williams said.
Williams said the compressed schedule of summer sessions, which presents large quantities of material and longer classes in shorter time periods, has taken some getting used to. Being one of the best running backs in program history, though, has made the transition a little more manageable.
“You’ll kind of see people looking up during role call and I’ve had people ask if I was ‘The Carnell Williams’ and things like that,” Williams said. “It’s actually been a lot of the parents who are here for Camp War Eagle that will stop me. It’s been pretty cool.”
Once he gets his degree, Williams, who recently became a first-time father, is not entirely sure what his next move will be. He said coaching is an option and that he wants “to stay connected with the game of football.”
“It’s what I love to do and I feel like I could help younger people,” Williams said.
Stories like this will probably be a little more common in the coming years as several conferences are proposing “lifetime degree guarantees” for student-athletes who do not finish their degree in order to pursue professional degrees in their sport. If that rule were instituted like it has been proposed at Indiana, for example, athletes like Williams would be covered by the university to continue pursuing their degree without cost.
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