Dartmouth QB Dalyn Williams goes out a winner and possibly a champion
Nah, probably not.
[caption id="attachment_3237" align="alignright" width="150"] SATURDAY ON ASN: Princeton at Dartmouth, noon ET (click logo for local listings)[/caption]
As his remarkable career winds down, Williams remains the exacting, demanding, ultra-competitive young man who heard he was too short, too small, not enough of this or that to be a successful college quarterback.
Those same points have begun to resurface as Williams aims for a shot at professional football. There is, however, some unfinished business.
Dartmouth (8-1, 5-1 Ivy League) is in a three-way tie for the conference lead with Harvard and Penn. A win against Princeton (5-4, 2-4) Saturday on ASN in the season finale guarantees the Green at least a share of its first Ivy title since 1996.
“My goals were extremely high ever since I came in,” Williams said. “I would say that my personal goals, I haven’t come close to accomplishing because I’m so hard on myself. But I think the most important goal is a team championship. That was the goal I set three years ago. We came close last year, but this year we have a chance at a title.”
A championship would be a fitting conclusion for one of the most dynamic talents Dartmouth, or Ivy League for that matter, history. Williams holds school records for career passing yards (7,196) and total yards (8,695), surpassing former NFL quarterback Jay Fiedler, as well as the career completion percentage record.
He is in the top 10 in Ivy League career completions (589), career Ivy completions (424), career accuracy (.627), career pass efficiency and career touchdown passes (55).
“He’s just a tremendous athlete,” quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Chris Rorke said. “He’s a very accurate passer and he presents defenses with so many problems. If they blitz and play one-on-one coverage, he can avoid the rush or get the ball to the receiver. If they drop back and play coverage, he can run the read option and quarterback draws and beat you that way.”
Williams had an absurd four-week stretch in the middle of the season in which he completed 69% of his passes for 1,333 yards and 12 touchdowns, with one interception, as Dartmouth outscored opponents 159-37.
In a 41-20 win against Penn, Williams completed 23 of 25 passes for 336 yards and four touchdowns. The following week against Yale, he set school records for passing yards (435) and total offense (453) in a 35-3 win.
Dartmouth’s lone setback was a 14-13 loss to Harvard, in which it coughed up a 13-point lead in the final minutes. That loss, along with a couple of recent wins that weren’t up to standard, tempered his accomplishments and climb up the record books.
“There were a number of games where we didn’t perform like we should have,” Williams said. “We should have done a lot better.”
Rorke said that Williams is being too hard on himself.
“He’s a team-first type of player and he wants everybody to do well,” said Rorke, who has seen marked improvement in Williams. “His mechanics are more consistent. Because of that, his accuracy is more consistent. His overall knowledge of the game is tremendous. He’s a very good decision maker, whether it’s running the read option or directing protection in the passing game. He operates the offense with really no mistakes.”
Williams, 5-11 and 210 pounds, has had the opportunity to blossom as a quarterback because Dartmouth was willing to allow him to do so. Growing up in the Dallas suburbs, he didn’t get the opportunity to play quarterback in high school until his senior year. Most schools pegged him as a receiver, but former Green assistant coach Jarrail Jackson, his primary recruiter, and head coach Buddy Teevens believed that he could excel at quarterback.
Williams cast his lot with Dartmouth, intrigued by the opportunity to help build the program.
His proudest accomplishment, he said: “My ability to come to an Ivy League school and get an education. I thought this was the best academic and athletic opportunity. I felt like this was the best place for me. I’m glad I made that decision. It’s the best decision of my life.”
Williams is one game away from a conference title. After that, his eyes will veer toward the horizon and a potential pro opportunity. Don’t tell him he cannot succeed.
“I think a number of things have to go well for me,” Williams said. “I need some luck, I need someone to give me a chance, and that’s what I’m going to try to do.”
Above: Dartmouth's Dalyn Williams (Courtesy Mark Washburn/Dartmouth Athletics)