A week ago, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn wasn’t sure if the team’s leading receiver, D’haquille Williams, would play in the Outback Bowl against the No. 18 Wisconsin Badgers.
Williams didn’t practice last week due to an illness plus lingering issues with a knee he injured earlier in the season against the Texas A&M Aggies.
After not practicing with the team, Williams didn’t travel to Tampa, Florida for the bowl game.
BREAKING: Auburn WR Dhaquille Williams did not join the team in Tampa for the Outback Bowl, per a source.
— Alex Byington (@AUBlog) December 26, 2014
While Sammie Coates is one of the nation’s most talented wide receivers, the Tigers lose a lot with Williams out the lineup. The JUCO transfer came into the program and immediately became quarterback Nick Marshall‘s favorite target. He leads the team with 45 receptions and 730 receiving yards.
Williams is also a better overall route runner than Coates. The junior, who is NFL bound, is one of the nation’s top deep threats. Williams was far more willing to run the routes and make the tough catches over the middle, though.
UPDATE [7:00 p.m. ET]: Due to D’haquille Williams‘ injury status, Auburn’s top target didn’t initially travel with the team to Tampa, Florida, for the Outback Bowl. However, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn told reporters Friday night that the wide receiver will be at the game.
Malzahn: Duke Williams and Cassanova McKinzy will be here, “running late”
— James Crepea (@JamesCrepea) December 26, 2014
Malzahn never specified whether or not Williams will be cleared to play for the New Year’s Day affair.