Former Mr. Basketball winner Carson Williams signs deal with Las Vegas Raiders

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Former Kentucky Mr. Basketball Carson Williams will get an opportunity in the NFL.

Williams, who starred for Northern Kentucky and Western Kentucky across five college basketball seasons, has signed a free-agent contract with the Las Vegas Raiders, the team announced Monday night.

The 6-foot-5 forward in March opted to train for a potential pro football career instead of playing for the Hilltoppers in the NIT. He’ll look to make the Raiders’ roster after not playing organized football since eighth grade.

Williams was Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball winner out of Owen County High School in 2016 after averaging 26.7 points and 10.8 rebounds as a senior. He signed with NKU and played two seasons with the Norse before spending his final three years with the Hilltoppers, for whom he averaged 7.5 points and 5.3 rebounds last season.

If he makes the Raiders’ roster, Williams would not be the first former WKU basketball star to play in the NFL. New York Jets offensive tackle George Fant, a top-20 scorer in WKU basketball history, played one college football season in 2015 but was undrafted in 2016. He soon after signed a free-agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks and spent three seasons there as a tight end/lineman hybrid before inking a three-year, $30-million deal with the Jets last April.

Fant has mentored Williams through the transition, and Williams has been training with Jacob Davis at DT Training in Bowling Green. Davis was instrumental in Fant’s leap from basketball to football. The Bowling Green Daily News this month reported that Williams’ 40-yard dash time was in the 4.7 range and his vertical jump was 38 inches, both slightly better than where Fant was during his pro day at WKU.

“I gave George some crap for this — ‘I think that Carson is a better athlete than you are at this time. He’s going to have a better pro day than you,’“ Davis told the paper. “Granted, George was probably 290 pounds and Carson was 250. They’re both freak athletes.

“Every scout that was at the pro day today was having a conversation with him and, for lack of better words, was drooling over the fact he was there and he’s coming out and this is an opportunity.”