Ricky Willliams ahead of Cotton Bowl HOF induction: Texas needs 'a superstar'

Former Texas superstar Ricky Williams on what the Longhorns need now, his astrology career

Ricky Williams, the former standout Texas running back and 1998 Heisman Trophy winner, talked to the media on Tuesday before his introduction into the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame at AT&T Stadium.
Up Next
Ricky Williams, the former standout Texas running back and 1998 Heisman Trophy winner, talked to the media on Tuesday before his introduction into the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame at AT&T Stadium.

For two of the most physical players in the history of college football, Roy Williams and Ricky Williams looked remarkably relaxed.

And the two had good reason to feel at ease within the confines of AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

The two Big 12 greats headlined a strong Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame class that also included former Texas A&M linebacker Quentin Coryatt, former Arkansas and Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt, former USC head coach John Robinson, and former Penn State running back/linebacker Wally Triplett.

In 1998, one of the greatest players in Texas history capped off his senior year by winning the Heisman Trophy and helped lead his team to a 38-11 victory over Mississippi State in the Cotton Bowl Classic. In talking to reporters just before his induction, the Longhorns star touched on a number of topics, including the current state of the Texas football program.

“I think it’s true in general when you talk about football, but specifically at Texas, you need a superstar for everyone to rally around,” he said. “There were was Earl, Vince, me, Colt. You need a superstar to get guys excited.

“Because it’s one of things where in football, especially in the Big 12 these days, you have to have confidence. You have that one guy where the game is on the line … it gives everyone confidence. Tom [Herman] needs to find that guy and let him be the guy.

"Fans might not be able to tell who a superstar is. But you can tell in practice, you can tell in team meetings … it’s that guy, when he steps into the game … if it was a video game, everyone’s ratings would go up a couple of points.”

He also talked about his fondest memories from his collegiate career, including that memorable 203-yard, two-touchdown game against Mississippi State in the 1999 Cotton Bowl Classic. That rushing total was a new Texas state bowl record and earned him MVP honors, as the Longhorns crushed the Bulldogs, 38-11.

“It was so fitting,” he said. “My last game, in the house that Doak [Walker] built, 37-yard touchdown run. I had to strike the [Heisman] pose.”

At the moment, Williams lives in Los Angeles, where he studies Chinese medicine and works as a professional astrologer. Come fall, he will again work as a football analyst for the Longhorn Network.

Roy Williams also had a memorable day when the strong safety played in the 2001 Cotton Bowl Classic. As the game turned into a defensive struggle between Oklahoma and Arkansas, Williams put forth a complete performance. In total, he recorded six tackles (three for a loss) and two sacks en route to MVP honors.

Thanks to his efforts, the Sooners prevailed 10-3.

When fans think of Williams and the Cotton Bowl, the play that probably comes to mind is his famous Superman tackle at the Cotton Bowl Stadium in the 2001 edition of the Red River Showdown. When the hard-hitting defensive back met Chris Sims at the goal-line, the Texas quarterback threw pick-six to linebacker Teddy Lehman that sealed the game for Oklahoma.

But according to the Cotton Bowl: "Voting is based solely upon an individual’s performance in – or contribution to – the Classic rather than on the person’s overall college or professional career."

And even though he was released before the opening of AT&T Stadium, Williams remembered his time in Dallas fondly. Over the course of his six-year career with the Cowboys, Williams racked up 414 tackles, nine forced fumbles and 6.5 sacks. He also was named to five Pro Bowls.

But when he was asked whether he would like to suit-up and fill the Cowboys’ need at safety, he was quick to respond.

“No, I’m good.” Williams said. “I am totally fine. They’re fine, they’re good. This day and age of football is not my style of football. I wouldn’t be able to play because I’d be either suspended or I’d be playing for free. And I can’t do that. So, I’m good.”

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram