2020 was not the season UNLV senior running back Charles Williams was expecting to have after coming off a season in 2019 where he had 1,257 rushing yards, but thanks to the NCAA giving players another year of eligibility due to the pandemic, Williams will get another chance to end his college career on a high note. Williams announced on Twitter Tuesday afternoon that he will capitalize on the additional year and play for UNLV in 2021.
“We’re excited to have Charles return for next season,” UNLV head coach Marcus Arroyo said in a statement on Twitter. “He is one of the premier backs in the conference, and he will be a huge part of what we do offensively. Even more importantly, he is the type of leader we want in our locker room, in the classroom and off the field. We got better today in having him return.”
In six games during the abbreviated 2020 season, Williams rushed for 495 yards, averaging 4.3 yard per carry and scoring four touchdowns. Williams capped off 2020 with his best performance of the season in the Rebels’ season finale against Hawaii when he rushed for a season high 148 yards and scored twice on 22 carries.
Williams will also be heading into the 2021 season looking to make history. He sits fourth on UNLV’s career rushing list with 2,940 yards and is 793 yards behind UNLV all-time rushing leader Tim Cornett who has 3,733 yards. With his production from this year, Williams jumped from sixth to fourth on the list after passing Kirk Jones, who was fourth, and Michael Morton, who was fifth, on the list.
Not only will Williams have a chance to make on the field history, but he has a chance to end a long drought for UNLV football. The Rebels have not have a player drafted in the NFL since offensive guard Joe Hawley was taken in the fourth round of the 2010 draft by the Atlanta Falcons. And many believe that with another productive year, Williams could be a third day pick in the 2022 NFL draft.
Additional Roster Moves
UNLV’s quarterback room will be a little less crowded as both Max Gilliam and Marckell Grayson will not return to the team next year. Gilliam, who started all six games for UNLV this season, will not utilize his additional year of eligibility. Joe Arrigo of Franchise Sports Media reports that Gilliam is planning to move on to his professional life in business with his family. Grayson, who is a local product from Desert Pines High School in Las Vegas, will enter the transfer portal and will be immediately eligible to play after graduating this Fall.
Wide receiver Randall Grimes will be joining his Desert Pines teammate Grayson in the transfer portal. Grimes, who was UNLV’s leading receiver in 2019, did not play this season after being suspended following a violation of team rules, he also did not appear in UNLV’s 2019 season finale at Nevada. Safety Greg Francis, who opted out of this year due to COVID concerns, announced on his Twitter that he is entering the transfer portal as well.
Offensive linemen Jaron Caldwell and Matt Brayton both announced on their respective Twitter pages that they will not be returning and utilizing their extra year of eligibility. Caldwell cited surgeries taking a toll on him and he is retiring from football. And Brayton decided to forgo his final year of eligibility for his best interest in his academic and professional endeavors.