Ken Willard

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Ken Willard
No. 40, 20
Position: Fullback
Personal information
Born: (1943-07-14) July 14, 1943 (age 74)
Richmond, Virginia
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 219 lb (99 kg)
Career information
High school: Richmond (VA) Varina
College: North Carolina
NFL Draft: 1965 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2
Career history
Player stats at PFR

Kenneth Henderson Willard (born July 14, 1943) is a former American football running back/fullback in the National Football League, where he was a four-time Pro-Bowler with the San Francisco 49ers in the 1960s.

College career[edit]

He attended the University of North Carolina after turning down Ted Williams and a contract with the Boston Red Sox. He went to Carolina on a football scholarship and also played baseball for the Tar Heels. He led the ACC in home runs two times and is unofficially credited with the longest home run in Tar Heel history at 525 feet (160 m). He is the first UNC athlete to be named to the first-team Academic All-America team and had his portrait placed on Kenan Stadium in 2013 celebrating this honor.

Professional career[edit]

Willard was drafted with the second pick of the 1965 NFL Draft, by the San Francisco 49ers ahead of future NFL Hall of Famers Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers. He played nine seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and one with the St. Louis Cardinals. He opted to pass on his eleventh season after two consecutive years of knee injuries in St. Louis.

Willard was a four-time Pro Bowler, selected in 1965, 1966, 1968 and 1969 and scored 45 rushing and 17 receiving touchdowns. His best year was 1968 when he ran for 967 yards (884 m) and 7 touchdowns. He was a member of the 49ers when the team won the NFC West title in 1970, 1971 and 1972 and with the Cardinals when they won the division title in 1974. On the retirement of Leroy Kelly, Willard became the NFL's active leader in career rushing yards for most of the 1974 season, before being passed by O.J. Simpson in Game 11. He retired with 6,105 rushing yards (then 8th all-time) and 45 rushing touchdowns (tied for 12th).

Statistics[edit]

Year Team Games Rush Yds TD Rec Yds TD Fumb
1965 SFO 14 189 778 5 32 253 4 7
1966 SFO 14 191 763 5 42 351 2 7
1967 SFO 13 169 510 5 23 242 1 1
1968 SFO 14 227 967 7 36 232 0 4
1969 SFO 14 171 557 7 36 326 3 6
1970 SFO 14 236 789 7 31 259 3 3
1971 SFO 14 216 855 4 27 202 1 8
1972 SFO 14 100 345 4 24 131 1 3
1973 SFO 14 83 366 1 22 160 1 2
1974 STL 7 40 175 0 4 28 1 0
Career 132 1622 6105 45 277 2184 17 41

Source[1]

Honors[edit]

In 1985, he was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and was honored as an ACC football Legend on May 6, 2013.

References[edit]