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Auburn senior WR D’haquille ‘Duke’ Williams dismissed from team Monday night

Michael Niziolek

mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Auburn wide receiver D'haquille Williams (1) runs a route for a touchdown reception against LSU defensive back Donte Jackson (1) in the second half of an NCAA college football game against LSU in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. LSU won 45-21. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Auburn wide receiver D'haquille Williams (1) runs a route for a touchdown reception against LSU defensive back Donte Jackson (1) in the second half of an NCAA college football game against LSU in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. LSU won 45-21. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The promising collegiate career of Auburn senior wide receiver D’haquille Williams ended with a short two-paragraph statement Monday night.

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn announced he was dismissing Williams from the team.

Details behind the decision weren’t released, and Auburn officials declined comment on if it was related to an internal team issue, or off-the-field incident.

“When individuals fail to meet the expectations of our program, there has to be consequences,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said, in the statement. “I gave D’haquille the chance to prove himself. I am disappointed that it did not work out.”

Malzahn previously suspended the receiver on two separate occasions with the most recent coming during training camp. He returned to the team on Aug. 13 after missing six practices.

At the time, Malzahn said it was “a discipline issue” that forced him to sit the receiver. Williams came back on the scout team, and had to work his way back to the starting lineup.

“He’s doing everything we asked him to do,” offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said, in August. “He’s practicing hard and practicing well, just like all the other guys.”

Williams first suspension came during the lead up to the Outback Bowl in 2014. He missed a series of practices then was officially suspended for the game against Wisconsin for breaking team rules.  

The 6-foot-2, 224-point Louisiana native came to Auburn from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. As a junior, he led the Tigers in receiving with 45 catches for 730 yards and five touchdowns.

His debut nine-catch, 154-yard debut against Arkansas last season was a memorable one.

With Auburn’s quarterbacks struggling, Williams’ numbers were down significantly this year. Last week, he had one catch for 17 yards, and for the season had 12 receptions for 147 yards with a touchdown in five games.

As recently as Sunday night, Williams was one of the receivers Lashlee praised for their performance against San Jose State.

“When you are a receiver and you don’t throw the ball a lot in that game -- you go in with a different intention, you go in intended to be balanced and throw the football, you kind of see how guys react,” Lashlee said. “You watch plays when we are getting down inside the 5-yard line and you got Melvin Ray, you got Ricardo Louis, you got Duke and you got Marcus Davis in there, most of the times those are the guys that are in there. They are blocking their tail off, and as soon as we score they are fired up.”

Without referring to Williams by name, teammate Carl Lawson tweeted about the situation late Monday night. 

Coach Malzahn didn't mention anything about Williams during his weekly Tiger Talk radio appearance Monday night, or a speaking engagement earlier in the day at the Monday Morning Quarterback Club in Birmingham, Alabama.

Michael Niziolek covers Auburn football for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Email him at mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+

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