Williams in 2006
|Date of birth:||September 27, 1982|
|Place of birth:||Fort Worth, Texas|
|Date of death:||January 1, 2007(aged 24)|
|Place of death:||Denver, Colorado|
|NFL draft:||2005 / Round: 2 / Pick: 56|
|Career NFL statistics|
Darrent Demarcus Williams (September 27, 1982 – January 1, 2007) was an American football player for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League. After attending high school in Fort Worth, Texas, Williams played football at Oklahoma State University. He was a second-round draft pick by the Broncos in 2005. Williams was killed in a drive-by shooting the day after he finished his second season with the Broncos.
Born and raised in Fort Worth, Williams attended O.D. Wyatt High School, where he played cornerback and was also a punt returner. As a senior, he was named 7-4A Defensive Most Valuable Player after posting five interceptions that featured several long returns, including a best of 54 yards. As a punt returner, Williams averaged 30 yards per return with four touchdowns.
Williams received little recruiting attention during high school, receiving offers only from Texas Christian University, Louisiana Tech University and Oklahoma State University. Reportedly, he was the last player signed of the 2001 class, and was only signed after an OSU coach's wife urged her husband to evaluate his talent further, as she was his school counselor.
Williams played college football for Oklahoma State University. He played ten games his first year, becoming a starter during the second half of the season. In Williams' freshman year, he returned two interceptions for touchdowns against Baylor. During the postgame press-conference, it was revealed that he had actually predicted he would do this in a statement to then head coach, Les Miles. As a sophomore, Williams started all of the team's thirteen games, recording 53 tackles and three interceptions, while breaking up 13 passes.
During his junior year, Williams continued to start for the Cowboys. He posted 66 tackles and six interceptions (third in the Big 12 Conference). He also broke up 17 passes. His junior-year performance earned him first-team All-Big 12 Conference honors.
Williams' played in only seven games in his last year at Oklahoma State. He missed the last three games because of injury and was limited before that because of an arm injury. Still, Williams totaled 21 tackles (18 solo), three pass breakups, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery, which he returned 53 yards. Williams finished his collegiate career tied for first place all-time in Division I college football in career interception returns for touchdowns. He had 11 career interceptions and scored 9 touchdowns on returns (5 interception returns, 3 punt returns and 1 blocked extra point return).
2005 NFL Combine
|Ht||Wt||40-yd dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert||Broad||BP|
|5 ft 9 in||176 lb||4.30 s||1.50 s||2.56 s||3.96 s||6.97 s||39 in||10 ft 4 in||16 reps|
|All values from NFL Combine|
Williams was selected by the Denver Broncos in the second round (56th overall) in the 2005 NFL Draft. He recorded his first career interception on November 13, 2005 versus the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders were driving to score, when quarterback Kerry Collins attempted a pass to wide receiver Jerry Porter. Williams jumped the route, intercepted the ball and took it 82 yards for the touchdown. The Broncos won the game, 31-17.
Williams established himself as the Broncos' starting cornerback, recording 58 tackles and two interceptions. He also led the Broncos in punt and kick returns. His nine starts at cornerback in 2005 were the most for a Broncos rookie at that position since Louis Wright started 11 games in 1975. An injury kept Williams out of the Broncos' lineup for the last three games of the season. Williams was recognized as a first-team All-Rookie selection by Pro Football Weekly and the Pro Football Writers Association.
Williams played in 15 games during the 2006 season, recording 86 tackles (77 solo) and four interceptions (returning one for a touchdown), as well as serving as the team's primary punt returner. His last game was a season-ending home loss to the San Francisco 49ers. In that game, played mere hours before his death, Williams had three tackles and returned two punts for 50 yards before leaving the game with a shoulder injury late in the second half.
For his career, Williams had 1 sack, 2 forced fumbles, 6 interceptions and 2 touchdowns.
On January 1, 2007, Williams was killed during a drive-by shooting at approximately 2:10 A.M. Williams and two other passengers were shot when another vehicle pulled beside his rented Hummer H2 limousine in downtown Denver, Colorado. The shooting occurred near 11th Ave. and Speer Blvd. It happened less than 12 hours after the Broncos played their final game of the 2006 season against the San Francisco 49ers in Denver.
Williams had been attending a New Year's Eve party and birthday party held for and by Denver Nuggets player Kenyon Martin at the nightclub Safari. The Denver Police Department reported that the shooting was preceded by some type of altercation or argument at the nightclub between Crips gang members and other patrons, one of whom was Broncos teammate Brandon Marshall. A police spokesman said, "There was some confrontation between a group of people in the vehicle and a group at the nightclub." Williams was not involved in the altercation. Marshall was "one of the instigators of the fight" according to a report by ESPN.
According to the county coroner's office, Williams sustained a single gunshot wound to the neck, killing him almost instantly. After Williams was shot, he fell in the lap of Broncos teammate Javon Walker. He was pronounced dead around 2:30 a.m. The two other passengers injured in the shooting were both released from the hospital the day after the shooting.
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Denver police impounded a vehicle in connection with the shooting. The suspected vehicle was registered to Brian Hicks, a 28-year-old Crips gang member, who was already incarcerated awaiting trial for attempted murder and drug charges. Other associates of Hicks were questioned as potential material witnesses to the Williams shooting. Rumors persist that it was a gang-related event; however, there has not been any concrete evidence to suggest that. Williams' family and teammates also say that the scenario was highly unlikely.
Williams was survived by his seven-year-old son, four-year-old daughter and 24-year-old girlfriend, all of whom live in Fort Worth, Texas. A memorial fund was set up in their name. Denver Nuggets stars Carmelo Anthony and Kenyon Martin, who were with Williams at the nightclub the evening of the shooting, planned to honor their friend by possibly setting up a college fund for Williams' children. A fan-constructed memorial was formed on the southern wall of the fountain in front of Invesco Field at Mile High. Javon Walker decided to wear his hair in a "fro-hawk," in honor of Williams, who wore his hair in a similar way as a trademark.
On May 29, 2008, the Darrent Williams Memorial Teen Center was opened at the Denver Broncos Branch of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver.
On May 30, 2008, the Rocky Mountain News published a story claiming that it had obtained a signed confession letter by Crips gang member Willie D. Clark, in which he admitted to firing the shot that killed Williams. On October 8, 2008, Clark was indicted by a grand jury for the murder of Williams. Clark was found guilty of murder on March 11, 2010. On April 30, a judge sentenced him to life in prison.
- Broncos' Williams killed Monday morning. Associated Press. January 1, 2007.
- Broncos' CB Williams killed in shooting TSN. January 1, 2007.
- Williams' murder big reason Marshall wants outThe Denver Post. February 21, 2010.
- Broncos' Darrent Williams gunned down in limoThe Denver Post. January 1, 2007.
- Lake, Thomas, "Bad Nights in the NFL", Sports Illustrated, 11 April 2011, pp. 72-80.
- "Marshall was also one of the instigators of the fight that led to teammate Darrent Williams' shooting death on New Year's Eve in 2006."
- Graham, Pat. Broncos players, coaches grieve for slain cornerback Associated Press. January 3, 2007.
- Prosecutor: Disrespected gang member killed Darrent Williams Associated Press.
- Theories on Killer Abound The Denver Post. January 3, 2007.
- PeoplePC - News
- 9NEWS.com | Colorado's Online News Leader | Darrent Williams Memorial Teen Center opens
- Letter implicates Bronco’s killer : Broncos : The Rocky Mountain News