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January 10, 2013

Deonte Williams Selected to Play in Casino Del Sol All-Star Game

WILLIAMS: I'M TURNING SOME HEADS (THE TRIBUNE)

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Cal Poly senior slotback Deonte Williams has accepted an invitation to play in the 2013 Casino Del Sol College All-Star Football Game, scheduled for Friday night in Tucson, Arizona.

The game, featuring over 100 seniors from colleges throughout the country, mostly at the Football Bowl Subdivision level, kicks off at 6 p.m. PST in Kino Stadium and will be broadcast on ESPN3 and WatchESPN.

Williams is one of three Big Sky Conference players chosen in the initial list of 64 invitees. The others are Montana State defensive tackle Zach Minter and Portland State kicker Zach Brown. More players have been added, including Northern Arizona offensive lineman Trey Gilleo and Eastern Washington wide receiver Nick Edwards.

Williams (5-10, 200) is the 11th Mustang in the last 11 years selected to play in a postseason all-star game.

The 2008 Pleasant Grove High School (Elk Grove, Calif.) graduate has earned numerous postseason honors, including second-team Associated Press, second-team The Sports Network and second-team Beyond College Sports All-American honors.

On Nov. 20, he and senior linebacker Kennith Jackson became Cal Poly's first-ever All-Big Sky Conference first-team selections.

Williams, who rushed for 1,506 yards and 12 touchdowns, led Cal Poly to a 9-3 record and, in its first season in the Big Sky, a share of the conference championship with Montana State and Eastern Washington. The Mustangs earned their third FCS playoff berth in the last eight years, falling to Sam Houston State in the second round Dec. 1.

Williams surpassed the 100-yard mark in rushing 10 times in 12 games this season, including a season-high 188 against UC Davis. His streak of six 100-yard games from games six through 11 broke Antonio Warren's streak of five games (1995-96).

Williams' ten 100-yard games this season is two more than the old school record set by James Noble in 2005. He is the 15th Mustang to crack the 1,000-yard mark for a season and averaged 6.5 yards per carry. Williams also caught eight passes for 52 yards and a score.

Williams' rushing total is No. 2 on Cal Poly's all-time single-season list, falling 72 yards short of Noble's school record of 1,578 yards, set in 2005.

Williams finished 16th in balloting for the Walter Payton Award presented annually by The Sports Network to the most outstanding player in the Football Championship Subdivision. There were 20 players on the watch list.

Cal Poly cornerback Asa Jackson played in the 2012 Senior Bowl while wide receiver Ramses Barden competed in the 2009 Senior Bowl, both games held in Mobile, Alabama. Both Jackson (Baltimore Ravens) and Barden (New York Giants) are currently playing in the National Football League.

Three former Mustangs played in the East-West Shrine Classic -- linebacker Jordan Beck in 2005, defensive end Chris Gocong in 2006 and linebacker Kyle Shotwell in 2007.

Offensive lineman Ben Cobian played in the 2005 Las Vegas All-American Classic while cornerback David Richardson and punter Gilbert Rocha were selected to play in the 2004 game. Cornerback Vaughn Jarrett and offensive tackle Brett Nichols played in the 2003 event, then known as the Paradise Bowl.

The lone Mustang to play in an all-star football game prior to 2003 was Stan Sheriff in the 1954 East-West Shrine Classic played in San Francisco's Kezar Stadium.

Kino Stadium, site of Friday's Casino Del Sol College All-Star Game, is a baseball stadium, home of the Pacific Coast League's Triple-A Tucson Padres, and seats 11,000. More than 70 pro scouts are expected to attend the game.

The inaugural event for draft-eligible college seniors was held in 2012. The 2012 rosters included six players who were drafted by NFL teams last April, including 98th overall pick Gino Gradkowski (Baltimore Ravens) and former Morro Bay High School and San Diego State standout Jerome Long, the 218th overall selection (Kansas City Chiefs). An additional 61 players entered NFL training camps last July as free agents.

Players report Sunday, Jan. 6, with practice sessions scheduled for Jan. 8-10.

The 2013 rosters include 15 players from Pac-12 schools and three from the Big Ten along with several other players from FBS bowl teams San Jose State, San Diego State, Boise State, Brigham Young and Utah State.

Former Hawaii, Arizona and San Jose State head coach Dick Tomey and former Arkansas and Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt have been announced as the game's coaches. The Big Sky players will play on Tomey's West squad.

Cal Poly football is presented by French Hospital Medical Center.