Blackwell: Ricky and Earl forever linked in renaming of field

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When Ricky Williams arrived at the University of Texas in the mid-1990s, more than a few people dropped upon his broad shoulders the moniker of “Little Earl,” coined after the Longhorns’ then only Heisman Trophy winner, Earl Campbell.

Now the two Heisman-winning running backs will be forever linked in more ways than running styles as the university has announced it is renaming of the football field at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium to honor the prolific pair.

The family of the late longtime Texas booster Joe Jamail suggested the name change.

“For countless days as young football players and upon being inducted to the Hall of Fame, Ricky and I have stood on this iconic field for many important points of our lives,” Campbell said in a statement. “We never would have envisioned this historic site would one day bear our names. The symbolism of this honor transcends the recognition of the Heisman trophies we received. It extends to all students, but specifically black athletes, who continue to work to define our collective motto ‘Winning with integrity.’ Ricky and I are humbled by this honor.”

Campbell also acknowledged the Jamail family for the request.

“Joe was always known for being a passionate, aggressive advocate of truth,” Campbell added. “We know he would have been proud to see this day arrive, both as a lawyer and a Longhorn.”

Williams was also moved by the decision.

“Earl and myself are honored to be part of the momentum of change sweeping our alma mater, the University of Texas, the nation, and the world,” Williams said in a statement. “We recognize the naming of Campbell/Williams Field is a historic moment and we urge our nation’s universities and communities to continue to reflect and review the history, symbolism, and identities that we place on monuments, public institutions, and sports organizations.”

Both Campbell and Williams recognized the change is part of an even bigger change rising in the country in general, and at UT in particular.

“We request that this name change be a recognition of the achievement of a broad body of people and an ongoing commitment to diverse representation in the University of Texas athletic organization and student body,” Williams said. “A new consciousness is rising and we are honored to be a part of it.”