A Razorback, a Horned Frog, and two Longhorns. All Buffalo Bills. All hailing from the Lone Star state. In Thursday night’s matchup against the New York Jets, four former Texas high school athletes will set out to accomplish a great feat; add value to the Buffalo Bills. Many can make a case against the Bills. After all, few can remember the last time they saw the playoffs and they are valued at less than any other team in the league.
How do you increase the value of a team that went 8-8 in 2015? Investments, of course. Here are four assets of Texas’ own to keep an eye on.
A dual threat at every level of competition. He played varsity wide receiver for Rowlett High School for three years and during that time accumulated 132 catches for 1,709 yards and 17 touchdowns. He won state titles both as a track team and individually for long jump. When transitioning to his collegiate career with the University of Texas, Goodwin continued to pursue both football and track. In addition to a highly decorated track career including two national titles, his football honors are countless. As a true freshman, he played in the BCS National Championship against Alabama. In that game alone, he caught three passes for 70 yards and an additional 62 yards on three kickoff returns. His senior year, he was responsible for helping the Longhorns get to the Alamo Bowl. In this post-season showdown against Oregon State, he made the third longest touchdown run in Alamo Bowl history with 64 yards. Upon the game’s conclusion, he was awarded Offensive MVP. Even today, Goodwin continues to excel in both athletic endeavors. Just after making the United States Olympic team for long jump in 2012, he was drafted by Buffalo in the third round of the 2013 draft.
In addition to his Olympic goals, Goodwin aims to win a Super Bowl. He has a proven record of attaining titles and competing to win. On the contrary, the Buffalo Bills haven’t seen the post-season in sixteen years. Could Goodwin be the key to Buffalo success?
A distinguished alumnus of both Austin High School and Texas Christian University. He lettered three years in football and was named First-Team All-District as a running back and as a kickoff returner as well as honorable mention All-State. As a running back, he rushed for 1,412 yards and 19 touchdowns. Upon joining the Horned Frogs, Hughes transitioned to defensive end where he was two-time All-American and Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year. In addition to his superhuman performance on the field, Hughes received a Local Hero Award for his community service endeavors. He was drafted in the first round of the 2010 draft by the Colts making him the first defensive player from TCU to be drafted in the first round since 1961. Hughes was traded to the Bills in 2013.
The 2016 season marks his first as the team’s outside linebacker where he recently transitioned from defensive end. Hughes will be adding to the case of the Buffalo redemption.
Had an incredible high school career at Allen. Upon graduation, he tallied more than 3,500 rushing yards for the Eagles and was ranked as the number 17th running back in the nation. Williams’, Coach Tom Westerberg, and the Allen Eagles squad were no strangers to the post-season making appearances multiple years throughout his time in Allen. Williams attended Arkansas for his collegiate career. As razorback, he rushed for 2,321 yards and 16 touchdowns including nine games where he racked up at least 100 yards. He was named second team AP All-SEC and was an Earl Campbell Award semifinalist. After missing his senior season due to injury, Williams was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the fifth round of the 2016 draft.
Because of his one-year absence from competition, Williams has something to prove in his first NFL season. This provides another reason for the Bills’ team turnaround.
Graduated from Rock Rock ISD’s McNeil High School. He comes from a long line of football players including his father, San Francisco State linebacker and his uncle, Chicago Bears defensive back and 1985 Super Bowl Champion. At McNeil, Williams earned All-American, All-State, and All-District honors. He was considered the number one defensive back in the country, but his versatility allowed him time as wide receiver and quarterback. Williams went on to join the Longhorns where he played in the BCS Championship game against Alabama. He finished his career at UT with 106 tackles, three sacks, and four interceptions. He was named second-team All-Big 12. Williams left the Longhorns for the draft his junior year where he was picked up the Bills in the second round of the 2011 draft. He now plays safety.
Like Jonathan Williams, Aaron Williams is returning from an injury last season. After the brief sabbatical from the field, Williams will join the Texas high school crew to do great things in Buffalo.
In a rivalry game, anything goes. The hat is tipped in Buffalo’s favor as they lead the match up 60-51. In fact, the Jets haven’t beat the Bills since 2013. Will the Bills extend their winning record in the rivalry? Or will the Jets find a way to start closing the gap?