In the final three games of the season, Dartmouth needed a quarterback to step in for injured sophomore Alex Park.
The Big Green turned to true freshman Dalyn Williams, who often wore green at Lake Dallas and was a part of the best passing offense in Class 4A in 2011.
Williams’ knack for leading an offense carried over from Corinth to Hanover, N.H., where he started and excelled in the final three games of the regular season.
The former Lake Dallas standout added to his career accolades when he recently was named the Ivy League’s Freshman of the Year.
“We’re really proud of him, but we’re honestly not really surprised,” Lake Dallas head coach Michael Young said. “I knew he’d probably be pretty successful there, even as a freshman. I thought he would get some chances to play — and if he ever got a chance to play, they’d probably have a hard time keeping him out of the lineup.”
Williams posted a 2-1 record as a starter and became the first Dartmouth player in 10 years — and only the seventh in school history — to be named the Ivy League’s top freshman. Twice he was named the league’s Rookie of the Week.
He completed 73 of 114 passes for 974 yards and seven touchdowns without throwing an interception. He rushed for 262 yards and three touchdowns on 89 carries for the Big Green, which finished 6-4 and missed the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
Williams took over as Dartmouth’s starter Nov. 3 against Cornell after Park suffered a shoulder injury. Williams shined against the Big Red, going 14-of-20 for 160 yards and two touchdowns.
His most prolific performance came in a season-ending 35-21 victory at Princeton. He completed 20 of 35 passes for 284 yards and three touchdowns. He added a rushing touchdown in the victory.
Dartmouth head coach Buddy Teevens said Williams flourished in his multi-quarterback system. Williams played in all 10 games, and Teevens said Williams progressed in each contest.
The 5-11, 205-pound freshman has the ability to make plays, is an accurate passer and has an innate sense of awareness that allows him to evade the rush and escape with his feet, Teevens said.
Williams displayed that talent as a senior at Lake Dallas, throwing for 3,952 yards and 37 touchdowns.
The Dartmouth coach said he’s in the midst of a nationwide recruiting trek and potential players are well aware of what Williams did in his first year.
“It’s kind of a mixed blessing,” Teevens said. “Every other position is very, very excited, and they go online and on YouTube and so forth and they know what a quality player [Dalyn] is. And quarterbacks, I think it’s a separator.
“Guys that are worried about competition, they’ll opt out to pursue other schools. Guys that are confident in their abilities and aren’t hesitant in willingness to compete, they still have an interest. We’re in a pretty good situation right now.”
Teevens said Williams has spent plenty of time digesting film and is constantly asking questions in a fervent pursuit to get better. When Teevens talked to Williams’ economics professor, the coach said, Williams’ desire to be great in the classroom was apparent as well.
“I’ve been so impressed with what he’s done to date, and I don’t believe he’s satisfied or he’s played his best football yet,” Teevens said. “And that’s something I really respect in him. He wants to be a great player.”
There’s time for Williams to leave his imprint in New Hampshire like he did in Texas.
Young said it’s difficult for a freshman to go in and do what Williams did at Dartmouth. And based on his 10 games, Young said he can see the trend of excellence continuing to curve upward over the next few years.
“They could really have something special in him,” Young said. “I could see him dominating that conference offensively — if they’re able to get some receivers to go around him — because I’m sure he’s going to be one of the top quarterbacks in that conference for years to come.”
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