He’s the man with the “million dollar smile,” and while he’s proud of his accomplishments, he would rather be known as”Big Al.”
On Dec. 7 of last year, at the elegant, black-tie dinner of the National Football Foundation in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria, Alfred Williams became the fifth Colorado Buffalo to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Induction into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame tonight is the latest honor recognizing Williams’ stellar career at Colorado and in the NFL.
These honors include the Butkus Award as the nation’s most outstanding linebacker in 1990, the first player at CU to win a post-season trophy. Williams was named first-team All- American in 1989 and 1990 (unanimous). He was a two-time first-team All-Big 8 Conference performer and the Big 8 Defensive Player of the Year for both of those seasons.
Williams remains CU’s all-time quarterback sack leader with 35 for 242 yards. He still has the record in tackles for loss with 59 for 303 yards, and he finished his career with 263 tackles, 180 solo. Oddly enough, Williams also has offensive stats. In his final regular-season game, a 64-3 blowout of Kansas State, Alfred talked coach Bill McCartney into letting him play a couple of plays at tight end. He caught a 17-yard pass.
Williams played high school football at Jesse Jones High School in Houston, Texas, and decided to play football in Boulder along with his good friend Kanavis McGhee, who played at opposing Wheatley High School in Houston. Williams at 6′-6″, 240 lbs. and McGhee at 6′-5″, 250 lbs., played opposite each other at outside linebacker. Fondly known as “the bookends,” Alfred and Kanavis led the defense that helped the Buffs to an unbeaten regular-season in 1989 and the National championship in 1990. In that 1990 season, “the bookends” accounted for 182 tackles, 110 solos, 35 tackles for a loss and 15 sacks.
McGhee says of his friend’s induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, “In my mind, it kind of solidifies him making the decision to come to Colorado and leaving Texas. We both got a lot of grief for leaving Texas, so I personally know what he went through. He became one of the top players to ever play college football… it’s a great thing and another chapter in the book for a guy who’s well-deserving.”
Williams’ contribution to Colorado sports didn’t end with his days at CU. He was a firstround selection in the NFL draft by the Cincinnati Bengals where he played for four years. After a year in San Francisco, he joined the Denver Broncos to finish his career. He was an all-pro defensive end in 1996, and earned Super Bowl Championship rings in 1997 and 1998. In his Denver years, he had 28.5 sacks and in 128 career NFL games, he recorded 59.5 quarterback sacks and one fumble return for a touchdown.
Williams is a popular Denver radio personality for KKFN (104.3 FM), hosting his own afternoon talk show.
You don’t get a week in the NFL where there is a weak opponent that you’ll play against. Every game is the big game in the professional ranks.