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Kyren Williams is a legitimate Heisman candidate. Notre Dame’s speedy, pass-catching running back is one of the nation's best and most productive returning running backs.
However, the 5’9 21-year-old from Missouri also has a lot going against him this upcoming season. For instance, the junior back has unfamiliar faces protecting him up front. Four of the five Irish starters are now pursuing their NFL dreams, with three of them being drafted.
Jarrett Patterson will be returning from injury and moving positions as the guard will move over to center as per Brian Kelly.
One of Williams’ keys to success last year was his amazing offensive line that would make holes for Williams to exploit, and Williams sure did.
The kid from Missouri ran for 1,125 yards and 13 touchdowns on 211 attempts.
The turnover in the offensive line will be a tough task for Brian Kelly and his team to handle, as experience at the OL position is vital. However, Notre Dame is known for producing offensive linemen and Jeff Quinn, Notre Dame’s offensive Line Coach, will be sure to have the new boys ready.
Another reason Kyren Williams might not be a legitimate Heisman candidate is because of just how good Chris Tyree is. Tyree, a sophomore, rushed for a steady 496 yards, getting limited reps because of Williams’ ability.
This season, Tommy Rees will want to give more touches to Tyree - who as a senior in high school won the award for the fastest football player in the nation.
On the flip side, there are many more reasons pointing to why Williams puts up a legitimate case for the Heisman Trophy.
For starters, Notre Dame lost a lot of talent this past offseason and their new QB, Jack Coan, isn’t the running-around, playmaking QB that Ian Book was. This will make Tommy Rees rely much heavier on the run game, something that Wisconsin did when Coan started there, with their running back (now Colts star) Jonathan Taylor putting up record-setting numbers as the Badgers relied on him heavily.
Rees will have to adjust to the way his new QB plays and a run-oriented offense will likely be the way he does so.
Secondly, Kyren Williams is a dual-threat running back. The St. Louis native is also very effective in the air, catching for 313 yards last season.
His ability to catch the ball will be very important for this Irish offense who lost two of their biggest targets last year in Ben Skowronek and Javon McKinley.
Lastly, Kyren Williams has experience on a very inexperienced team. As a junior, he was named captain of the team, showing just how much his teammates and coaches trust in him and his abilities.
Williams is one of the nation's best returning backs and one of Notre Dame’s most experienced returning offensive players. The Irish have a tough schedule, facing the likes of Kedon Slovis and USC, and a very good Cincinnati Bearats team, but if Williams performs well he has the ability to change a game and in Notre Dame’s case, a season.
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