Williams: I love being a Georgia Bulldog
Published 4:40 pm Tuesday, September 8, 2009
With a streamlined, athletic body along with speed, quickness and rare agility, Nick Williams is a classic football player.
What sets him apart, however, and makes him special is his attitude. His ebullient smile never turns to a frown. His sparkling personality never loses its momentum and its refreshing edge.
His passion is unparalleled and so is his joy in extending himself to the fullest. Fulfillment only comes when he has nothing left after the game is over. In his career so far, he can truthfully say that he has never left anything on the field.
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From Bainbridge, in Georgia’s southwest corner of the state, and not highly recruited, this quarterback, who knew he would play defense in college, had athleticism and favorable size, two qualities apparent to Willie Martinez, Bulldog defensive coordinator. Although Williams could excel at defensive back, the Georgia coaches felt that he would help the team more at linebacker.
Every coach wants him for special teams, and they always find Nick ready, willing, and able. Kickoff team, kickoff return, punt team, punt return—all the teams that require speed, endurance and an ability to run long distances without inducing a dull or substandard performance. Need a block, he can level a defender and open a path. Need a tackle, give an angle and an opportunity, and he’s your man. He can secure a ball carrier in a flash. Think about his multiple special teams assignments, and you realize that he would be expended in the fourth quarter from those assignments alone.
Depending on what the opposing team does in the game, on average you can expect Nick to be involved in an average of 16 or 17 long distance sprints of 50 or more yards every Saturday: 5 kickoff returns, four kickoffs, four punts and three punt returns.
He does those things on the side, if you will, while playing weakside linebacker.
“Coach Fab (Jon Fabris, defensive end coach and coach of two special teams) told me that most players have 15 percent of their energy that they never use,” Williams said. “I love Coach Fab and the way he teaches you to play the game. I don’t want him to ever ask me after the game if I have anything left and then admit that I do.”
Spend an hour with Nick and you feel good. His warm, generous and disarming smile put you in the best of moods, even if your day began on a sour note. His enthusiasm is without equal. He makes those around him work harder to improve and to play to the best of their ability.
“It would be difficult to find a player with more energy—high energy at that,” says Martinez. “He would change positions now on instant notice because he represents the ultimate as a team player.”
Said linebacker coach John Jancek, “He’s like the energizer bunny, he just keeps going and going and going.”
Both defensive coaches appreciate the fact that Nick loves being at Georgia and wants to play for the Bulldogs.
Players do not always show the kind of appreciation for a scholarship that Nick Williams does.
“Oh man,” he gushes. “I love being a Georgia Bulldog. The first time I came out of the tunnel at the first home game last year to take the field, I just stopped and looked around at all those people. It was overwhelming. I couldn’t believe that was happening to me. I just wish everybody could experience the DawgWalk and playing between the hedges. That it has happened to me is not anything I take lightly.”
One of two defensive headliners from Bainbridge (Darryl Gamble is the other), Nick learned commitment and the attitude of going all out all the time from his father, Percy; from his mother, Bernette, he learned to show his emotions.
Interestingly, his mother and father met under unlikely circumstances.
“My mother ran track in college in Michigan and was driving through Bainbridge. She stopped at a shopping center to use the bathroom when she met my dad.”
They exchanged phone numbers, and a romance began.
“If my mom hadn’t stopped to go to the bathroom, I might not be here,” Nick smiles.
Majoring in sports management, Nick is on a 3 1/2-year plan to graduate.
“I came to Athens with plans to get my degree.”
As he turns to walk out the door, he looks back with a broad smile and says. “I will get my degree.”
Nobody who knows Nick Williams would doubt him.