Auburn University star wide receiver D’haquille Williams has been dismissed from the team, coach Gus Malzahn announced on Monday night.
The troubled senior receiver was suspended from participating in last year’s Outback Bowl against Wisconsin, a game in which Auburn lost in overtime, and was suspended again in August of this year for an undisclosed discipline issue.
Williams was re-instated in time for Auburn’s opening game against Louisville, but has not regained the level of play that made him the nations number one junior-college recruit in 2013.
Playing in ten games last year, Williams had 45 receptions for 710 yards, but has struggled along with the rest of Auburn’s offense this season, having 12 catches for 147 yards through the team’s first five games.
Auburn coach Malzahn said in a statement, “When individuals fail to meet the expectations of our program, there has to be consequences. “I gave D’haquille the chance to prove himself. I am disappointed that it did not work out.”
Auburn was expected by many to compete for the national title, buoyed by the hiring of former Florida Head Coach Will Muschamp to re-build what had been a spotty defense, and high expectations for senior quarterback Jeremy Johnson as a possible Heisman contender.
Johnson struggled straight out of the gate, completing 43 of 72 passes for 473 yards, but throwing six interceptions in the first three games, and looking like anything but a Heisman hopeful.
The Tigers were blown out in a road game against LSU in Baton Rouge and the team’s preseason expectations were dealt a severe blow.
Freshman quarterback Sean White replaced Johnson for the Mississippi State game and, while throwing for a respectable 188 yards on 20 of 28 passes, failed to produce a touchdown for the first time in Malzahn’s coaching career in the 17-9 loss.
In last week’s 35-21 win over San Jose State, Auburn relied on the running game and great kick returns for field position, rushing for 234 yards on 48 attempts, with White only tossing 10 passes, completing 6 for a mere 108 yards.
Auburn’s offense currently ranks 13 of 14 SEC teams in yards per game, and 11th in points per game, which is not a hallmark of Malzahn’s usually high-powered offensive game plan.