The first true Bulldog legend. Shorty McWilliams is undoubtedly the greatest halfback this university ever had. Until Dak Prescott came along, McWilliams 10th place finish in the 1944 Heisman vote was the highest finish by a Bulldog in school history.
His one year he was not with MSU was spend with the United States Military Academy due to World War II. There, he was on the 1945 National Championship winning Army Black Knights who went 9-0 that season. He returned to Starkville the following season and was once again a true star in the eyes of every newspaper across the country. McWilliams played 3 consecutive years in StarkVegas before being drafted by multiple NFL and All-American Football Conference teams and setting out on a career in pro football.
Unfortunately, his pro career was cut short due to a knee injury.
McWilliams recorded career totals of 1,808 rushing yards and 19 rushing touchdowns for the Bulldogs. In 2014, McWilliams joined the MSU Football Ring of Honor and his name is bolted proudly inside Davis Wade Stadium. He is one of only 7 Bulldog legends to hold this honor.
After football, McWilliams returned to his home city of Meridian, Mississippi and owned Weidmann’s Restaurant for a time. He always looked back on his time at Mississippi State with happiness and a sense of thankfulness to the university and the fans who came to cheer him and his fellow Dawgs on week in and week out.
McWilliams sadly passed away on January 9th, 1997 in Meridian.
Even though it’s been 70 years since Shorty McWilliams graced Scott Field, he is still widely considered by many to be arguably the greatest in school history. His signature photo you see above is a mainstay in the photo albums of Mississippi State Football. He wasn’t quite the greatest, but he was certainly close to it.