Ohio State running back Antonio Williams announced on Monday afternoon he will transfer to North Carolina.
The 5-foot-11, 217-pound Williams is a native of New London, North Carolina. The former four-star recruit rushed for 290 yards and three touchdowns in limited duty last season.
A junior, Williams will have to sit out the 2018 season but will have two remaining seasons of eligibility for the Tar Heels.
Williams drew praise from his coaches for his improvement this spring, with Ohio State running backs coach Tony Alford describing him as one of the most improved players on the entire team. That said, there was no clear path for Williams to see the field with sophomore J.K. Dobbins and redshirt junior Mike Weber, who have both had 1,000-yard seasons for the Buckeyes, ahead of him on the depth chart.
When Williams met with reporters at Ohio State just a couple weeks ago, he expressed confidence that his opportunity for more carries would come in Columbus. In his statement posted to Twitter on Monday, however, Williams said he came to the realization that he would not have the opportunity to achieve his individual goals as a Buckeye.
"As individuals we set goals for ourselves, some things are obtainable from the paths we choose, and some things aren't," Williams wrote. "Though being at Ohio State provided me with the right path to reach those goals, the timing for me to be at OSU wasn't the most ideal. With that being said, following the end of this semester, I will be transferring to the University of North Carolina. I'm extremely excited to be joining the Tar Heel family but also sad to leave my brothers at OSU."
Williams also thanked Alford, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and his teammates for everything they did for him while he was a Buckeye, and in turn, several of his teammates – including Weber and fellow running back Master Teague – took to Twitter on Monday to wish him well.
Do work brother https://t.co/PtHX5zR5Yo— Mike Weber (@mikeweberjr) April 23, 2018
Antonio man, thanks for all the things you've done for the RB room and setting the example on how I should come to work everyday. I'll be praying for you. God Bless! https://t.co/suhom4iRJu— Master W. Teague III (@MasterTeagueIII) April 23, 2018
Alford also took to Twitter to extend his well wishes to Williams.
Antonio, mmmm, Im gonna miss you son! You know how much I appreciate you. Ill be watching from afar & Im always only a phone call away! https://t.co/dOi4wlG1MC— Coach Tony Alford (@CoachTonyAlford) April 23, 2018
Williams' departure leave Dobbins and Weber as the only returning scholarship running backs on the roster. That said, the Buckeyes will also have three freshmen running backs on their roster for the 2018 season in Teague (who was already on campus as an early enrollee this spring), Brian Snead and Jaelen Gill (who could also end up playing H-back), and have already landed two running back commitments for the class of 2019 in Sampson James and Steele Chambers.
The Buckeyes' roster now stands at 86 scholarship players for the 2018 season, leaving them one scholarship above the 85-man limit.