Though he’s a quarterback through and through, Doug Flutie is also a true Boston College product.
And while he loves seeing a wide-open receiver streaking underneath a deep throw with nothing but green grass between him and the end zone, Flutie also loves to see a powerful offensive line punishing opposing defenses and an explosive back bursting through holes for big gains.
So of course, the former BC star, the school’s only Heisman winner, has really enjoyed watching Andre Williams this season.
“First of all, it’s awesome,” Flutie said by phone Wednesday. “He’s had an amazing year. He’s as good as anyone out there. There’s no doubt about it. He runs physically, lowering his shoulder, and has the speed to pull away.”
Williams has a school- and ACC-record 1,810 yards rushing with two games remaining this season. He got two votes in ESPN.com’s latest Heisman Watch piece, and his name has been bandied about by fans and journalists alike.
Since Flutie, only QBs Glenn Foley (finished fifth in 1993) and Matt Ryan (finished seventh in 2007) have received Heisman votes while at Boston College, according to Lee Singer of ESPN Stats & Info.
“As far as being mentioned in the Heisman race, it’s great because it brings attention to the school,” Flutie said of Williams entering that conversation.
That could help in recruiting, he said, with skill position players seeing that it’s possible to put up big numbers and get mentioned for coveted honors at BC.
Flutie is a college football analyst for NBC Sports and serves on the advisory board for the Capital One Cup, an award given out annually to the best men's and women's Division I college athletics programs in the country.
But when it comes to actually winning the Heisman, or evening getting an invite to New York for the trophy presentation, Flutie has his doubts.
“I think it’s a little late in the year to get the attention necessary to be a true contender,” he said. “There are a handful of guys who’ve been getting the attention all year long. People are just starting to hear about Andre, which is a shame.”
But while the general public has been introduced to Williams late, like many BC fans, Flutie has been waiting for him to do something like this for years.
“You saw the explosiveness,” he said. “You could tell he was a big-time back. You could tell he ran with power and speed. You could see it in him, but he would be nicked up, he would sit out a game.”
So far, Williams has held up fairly well under an intense workload. (He revealed this week that he suffered a separated AC joint in his right shoulder in the loss to North Carolina, but said it’s not a big deal anymore.) As ESPN.com’s Andrea Adelson noted, Williams has accounted for a whopping 49 percent of BC’s total yardage this season. He leads the country in almost every major rushing category, including attempts (288), yards (1,810), yards per game (181.0) and 200-yard games (four).
Though Flutie said he’s partial to Troy Stradford, his running back while at BC, Williams deserves the spot he’s grabbed for himself in the school’s record books.
Stradford finished his BC career with 3,504 yards, making him the Eagles’ career leader at the time. Williams has 3,372 yards entering Saturday’s game at Maryland, fifth all-time, 132 yards behind Stradford.
Williams needs 364 yards in his final two regular-season games to become BC’s all-time rushing leader.
“As far as being a dynamic back,” Flutie said, “he’s as good as we’ve had.”
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.