Redshirt sophomore quarterback Dajon Williams is no longer on the Mean Green football team's roster and has left the team, according to a report from Brett Vito of the Denton Record Chronicle.
According to Vito, head coach Dan McCarney confirmed the news of Williams' departure on Monday, but declined to expand on any reasons for Williams leaving. Williams fell behind Andrew McNulty and Josh Greer in the quarterback competition during the spring, but started three games for North Texas last season before being benched in favor of McNulty.
Vito's original report said Williams was dismissed from the program, but has since been updated to say he left the program. Was this a mutual parting of ways? Did Williams leave the program because of football reasons? Were there other factors that played into this? All of that is unclear at the moment, as is whether Williams will continue is football career elsewhere.
The initial reaction is one of no surprise. As much potential as Williams had, it always seemed like this was inevitable, even if no one wanted to admit it.
For starters, Williams was one of eight quarterbacks North Texas had on its roster during the spring, not including DeMarcus Smith who wasn't eligible at the time. There was McNulty has the incumbent starter, with Greer, Williams and Connor Means fighting behind him along with other newcomers in the mix. It was always hard to envision North Texas carrying nine quarterbacks into the fall.
Now what about Williams himself? The story goes back further than his first start against Nicholls State last season. Going into 2014, North Texas knew it needed to replace Heart-of-Dallas Bowl MVP Derek Thompson. Fans clamored for Williams, and hoped he could be the guy to run what could have been a fun Mean Green offense for years to come. Instead, the team tapped Greer, a JUCO transfer, as Thompson's heir with McNulty and Williams as the backups. Part of this was because Williams missed a good chunk of the 2014 offseason and simply wasn't ready to start the season.
After a 1-2 start to 2014, the offense looked like it need a spark, and the coaching staff turned to Williams to provide it. For one game, he did.
In North Texas' 77-3 win over Nicholls State, Williams threw for 176 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for two more touchdowns. Williams was electric that day at Apogee Stadium, and everyone hoped that it was a taste of what's to come.
But that was Nicholls State.
In his next start on the road against Indiana, Williams threw three touchdowns, but also two interceptions in a loss. The next week on the road against UAB, Williams fumbled the ball twice, and was picked off twice in an embarrassing 56-21 loss, leading McNulty to become the third starting quarterback of the season. And, when you thought it couldn't get any worse, Williams was suspended for the season finale against UTSA for a violation of team rules. With the exception of that one game, 2014 was a disaster for Williams.
The maddening thing is that Williams did show flashes of what he could be, and what the offense could be with him at the helm. This spring, North Texas was experimenting with a more up-tempo offense, as opposed to its usual clock-eating, ground-and-pound style. Thompson was a solid quarterback, but he didn't do anything spectacular, and the he same can be said about McNulty. Both are good quarterbacks for the style that North Texas has been playing over the past few years.
Williams had the ability to run a zone-read type system with the Mean Green offense, and add a dimension that North Texas hasn't seen before. He was perfect for what North Texas was trying to implement in the spring.
For whatever reason it didn't work out. McCarney had talked about Williams' lack of preparation and conditioning before last season started, and that could have been part of his struggles. It just seemed like he never quite harnessed the talented and potential he had, which is depressing for every Mean Green fan out there.
McCarney had said before that Williams was the most talented out of the quarterbacks at North Texas. He showed that at times, but, for various reasons couldn't put it together. Again, this really shouldn't come as a surprise, but it's hard not to wonder "What if?" about the enigmatic Dajon Williams.