While I watch a lot of tape on each player, one play can tell you a lot. This play from the Jamaal Williams library screams NFL running back.
When Jamaal Williams was an underclassman, he was a tall, skinny runner with speed, balance, and moves to spare. Combine his frame, his athletic ability, and his playing style, and I wondered how this boy wonder’s pants stayed up.
And yes, I said boy. Williams, like many young people leaving the family home for the first time, aren’t ready for the college life. Make poor decisions and those consequences can offer a quick and unceremonious introduction to the harsher realities and responsibilities of life as an adult.
For Williams, it began with an arrest for suspicion of underage drinking in February of 2014. Then Williams suffered a knee injury in November of the same year. By August of 2015, Williams took a red shirt year.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, “Williams violated unspecified team rules and was told he could either be suspended indefinitely or withdraw from school.”
Because BYU discontinued the practice of acknowledging and publicly discussing honor code violations in January 2014, Williams’ violation remains a private matter.
As it should. As long as it was not a major crime, schools should be advocates for an individual’s growth and encourage that growth even as it administers some tough love.
What we do know is that this 206-pound boy who starred for two years at BYU took these challenges and turned them into opportunities. He worked on himself and returned to Provo in 2016 as a man—a 220-pound man who looks NFL-ready to me.
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