MSU reinstates Delton Williams to football team

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

East Lansing — Michigan State junior running back Delton Williams will rejoin the team in mid-August, the university announced Monday.

Williams, who was arrested in March after a traffic incident on campus on March 16 when he allegedly flashed a gun at another driver, will be back with the team on Aug. 14, just days after the Spartans open preseason camp on Aug. 8.

Williams, 21 of Erie, Pennsylvania, was initially charged with misdemeanor brandishing a weapon in public and as part of a reduced charge violated Michigan State University ordinance 18.01 by possessing a weapon on campus.

Williams was suspended indefinitely at that point by coach Mark Dantonio and the university said Williams hasn’t participated in any football-related activities since mid-March and hasn’t been enrolled in summer school. Associate athletic director John Lewandowski confirmed Williams has elected to return to the team without a scholarship this fall.

“Delton Williams has satisfied the University’s (student conduct system), court’s and football program’s expectations,” Dantonio said in a statement. “Delton comprehends the severity of the situation and understands that decisions have consequences. He also appreciates the fact that wearing the Michigan State uniform is a privilege and not his right.

“Provided with various options, he chose to return to Michigan State under specific guidelines in order to complete his education and playing career. Delton looks forward to turning the page to the next chapter in his life by rejoining his teammates and classmates.”

Williams carried the ball 54 times for 316 yards and five touchdowns in 2014 and appeared in all 13 of Michigan State’s games.

“First, I want to apologize to the entire Spartan family,” Williams said in a statement. “Obviously, I didn’t want this to happen and cast a negative light on the University and our football program like it has for the last four months.

“I appreciate the University and Coach Dantonio for providing me with the opportunity to return and finish what I started. Being a student-athlete at Michigan State is truly an opportunity of a lifetime. It was a judgment call, but they all decided to provide me with a second chance. I’m truly blessed and grateful for this opportunity.”

With Jeremy Langford off to the NFL, the competition in the Michigan State backfield is expected to be intense.

The release from Michigan State did not say whether Williams would sit out any games, but his return is sure the spice up the running back battle.

Sophomore Gerald Holmes returns while redshirt freshman Madre London is coming off a strong spring and true freshman LJ Scott is expected to fight for a spot. Williams offers the most experience of the group.

“I wasn’t looking for a fresh start or the easy way out by transferring to another school,” Williams said. “It has been and continues to be a blessing to be a student-athlete here. God has a plan for us all, and I put myself in a tough situation. I dug myself a hole, took the punishment and now it’s time to get back on track.

“My return isn’t just about playing football because I know it isn’t forever,” Williams continued. “God willing, I might get the opportunity to play in the NFL, but I already have 64 credits and I’m on pace to graduate. As some say, NFL means ‘not for long.’ My degree is my primary plan, not my back-up plan.

“I never intended to put anyone in harm’s way, and I never believed the situation would get out of hand. I’ve learned from my mistake, and I won’t put myself in that type of situation again. I see things much differently now and know that I must think before I act. As a result of my decision, manhood has been thrust upon me. I’ve grown up a lot over the last four months. That decision could have ruined all of my dreams. This situation has certainly brought me closer to God.”

“I look forward to rejoining my teammates and working toward a common goal. I can’t wait to get into the locker room and on to the practice field with my teammates and coaches. I’m truly blessed to be a Michigan State Spartan. At the end of the day, I care about my immediate family and my MSU family — that’s what matters most.”