Mississippi State redshirt senior wide receiver Austin Williams, a former standout at Ocean Springs High School, was named the H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the Southeastern Conference this week. The award is considered the highest academic honor for a student-athlete in the prestigious SEC.
Williams holds an undergraduate degree in business administration/finance, as well as a master’s in business administration from MSU. He is currently working toward a third academic degree with one year of eligibility remaining, Williams has maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average throughout his time in Starkville.
The H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-Graduate Scholarship winner is chosen by a committee of Faculty Athletics Representatives from the 14 universities that comprise the SEC. The award has been presented by the league since 1986 to the league’s top male and female scholar-athletes. The 2022 female winner is Lisa Gunnarsson of the LSU women’s track & field team.
The SEC provides the league’s male and female McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients with a $20,000 post-graduate scholarship.
“We congratulate Austin and Lisa as they are outstanding representatives of student-athletes from across the SEC,” Commissioner Greg Sankey said. “These young people are committed to the total student-athlete experience, and it is reflected in the elite level of their academic and athletics accomplishments. The H. Boyd McWhorter Award is the highest honor earned by a student-athlete in the SEC and I congratulate both of them along with their families and universities on their outstanding achievements.”
The McWhorter Award adds to a long list of academic and athletic achievements for Williams, a two-time CoSIDA First Team Academic All-American. He was named a semifinalist in 2021 for both the Wuerffel Trophy and Jason Witten Man of the Year. Williams also represented the Bulldogs on the 2021 SEC Community Service team.
Williams was selected to the MSU Football Leadership Council by his teammates in both 2020 and 2021, as well as team captain for the MSU 2021 football season.
A starter in 12 games in 2021, Williams owns the lowest drop rate for a wide receiver in the SEC since 2019 at 0.9 percent. He has played in 50 games during his career, amassing 116 receptions for 1,245 yards and 12 touchdowns. He produced season highs in catches (52), yards (617) and TD (4) in 2021.
Williams is a five-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll and a five-time selection to MSU’s President’s List and Bulldog Honor Roll. He is just the second MSU football player ever to recieve the award. Placekicker Scott Westerfield won it in 2001.
Three Ole Miss football players have received the award since its inception. One of those is Ocean Springs resident Dr. Jeff Noblin, who took home the second award ever presented in 1987 and served as the team physician for Ocean Springs High during Williams’ time with the Greyhounds.