Williams named runner-up for Ivy League Bushnell Cup

by Gayne Kalustian | 1/7/15 6:20pm

by Jin Lee / The Dartmouth

On his first day of tackle football in seventh grade, Dalyn Williams ’16 was told, in no uncertain terms, to practice with the defensive linemen. For the Texas native, however, playing quarterback was always in the front of his mind.

“I was a chubby kid, but I could always throw far,” Williams said.

Throw long, he was dared, as a teammate ran down the field. Williams cocked his arm, tightened his core and released. The ball came off his fingertips, floated into a perfect arc and overshot the receiver by a long shot. At that moment, his coach named him first team quarterback.

Shorter than the average college quarterback, Williams has been sized up, sent down and passed over before. Now, in his junior year at Dartmouth, he finds himself the runner-up for the Bushnell Award -— an award given to the Ivy League player of the year. The winner, senior Tyler Varga of Yale University, had 22 touchdowns and averaged 142.3 yards per game, the highest for both categories in the league. Varga has a fighting chance at making it at the next level, Williams said.

“He’s a good player,” he said. “He’s a strong guy, low, compact to the ground. He runs with a lot of power. I think he has very good speed for his size.”

Though Varga’s year was exceptional, Willams left an impact on the league in his nine game this season for the Big Green. His 157.57 passing efficiency led the rest of the Ivy League. He also made Dartmouth history after throwing for 2,119 yards and 21 touchdowns, interrupted by only three interceptions —he best ratio in the College’s history. Williams has 200 more rushing yards than the next quarterback in the league, averaging 49.3 rushing yards per game.

With stats like these, head coach Buddy Teevens believes Williams was, at the very least, extremely competitive for the award.

“He set the marks that he did for Dartmouth football, league marks and so forth,” Teevens said. “He was deserving of recognition which he was given, but he also easily could have been the guy that won the award.”

While Williams’ record-setting statistics make his ability on the field clear, Teevens also expanded on what his role as quarterback meant for the team. Unlike Williams, Varga was a tailback for the Bulldogs.

“There’s a history in the League in seniority. Did that carry sway? I don’t know,”Teevens said. “In my mind, the impact a quarterback has on the game is just pervasive. It’s all-encompassing. They touch the ball on every single snap. They have to make decisions that no one else has to.”

In order to try securing the award in his fourth and final season with the green and white, Williams is zeroing in on the skills he feels he needs to improve, including mechanics, speed of release and footwork, he said. He emphasized that most of his energy, however, will be spent poring over film, studying the team’s strengths, weaknesses, plays and imperfections.

“He is what he is,” Teevens said. “He’s an upbeat, happy guy, energetic, curious. He’s a deep thinker. Cerebral. He is a perfectionist — he wants to have great success in everything that he does.”

Though his long term goals include winning the Bushnell Award next year, playing in the senior bowl and making it to the NFL, he lists having a successful four-course winter term and improving his grade point average as his most important short term goals. Williams prioritizes leading a successful and balanced life over becoming absorbed into the world of football.

His decision to come to Dartmouth is evidence of the value of education his parents instilled in him as a kid, he said.

“There’s a lot to him. He considers a lot of different things in life, not just on the football field,” Teevens said. “He has high standards and is very demanding and has high expectations of himself. He will challenge other players to challenge themselves at a higher level. He wants to bring the best out of everybody.”

His emergence as a leader on the team has taken shape over the years. Co-captain and offensive lineman Sean Ronan ’15 said he has faith not only in Williams’ abilities as a teammate, but as an authority on the field.

“He’s definitely matured into a leader,” Ronan said. “He knows that we look up to him because he’s such a great athlete, you know? A great player. His energy brings up everybody on the field. He’s happy, so we’re all happy.”

As satisfied with his season and thankful for his time at Dartmouth that Williams might be, he is not satisfied with being known as the runner-up. Having been passed up before, consistently underestimated as too big as a kid and too short as man to play the position he feels he was born to play, the Bushnell decision hasn’t been the easiest to accept.

“I plan on winning it next year by playing in a fury with a chip on my shoulder,” he said. “I think I’m going to repay all the coaches that didn’t vote for me.”

This article ran in Thursday’s print edition under the headline “Williams runner-up for Ivy League Bushnell Award.”