ASA - The College for Excellence defensive lineman Wayne Williams adds another personality to coach Tim Daoust's defensive line unit at Syracuse University after signing his National Letter of Intent.
Williams is a junior college transfer from Brooklyn, New York, who shared his thoughts and feelings on joining the Orange football program. "It means a lot," said Williams. "All my hard work from high school to not being qualified to having to go into junior college to finally say that you're there, it means a lot. It's a big burden off my back, but it's a lot to get accomplished still ahead."
Interestingly enough, Williams did not have a lifelong dream of playing football. "Some people might call me crazy but I didn't have this dream really for a long time," Williams stated. "I picked up the sport late. I thought I was a basketball player and things didn't quite work out for me. So, around my sophomore year, Coach Okana came and found me and took me to come play football, and I haven't looked back since."
Signing onto the next chapter of his football career did not come without adversity, as John Anselmo, of whom he built a close relationship with, left for the NFL's Buffalo Bills with former Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone. "It was real hard 'cause I remember the first day I first saw coach [John] Anselmo," Williams recalled. "I'm walking into coach Okana's office and being introduced and the first thing he (Anselmo) said to me, he said, 'Well he ain't no basketball player.' So, ever since then me and him had a bond that could never be broken and to this day I hope to still look on keeping in touch with coach Anselmo 'cause he had a major improvement in me wanting just to get to the spot to better my family and to make him proud and to make everybody proud of me."
Despite having such a bond with Anselmo, the bond with Syracuse was even stronger. Speaking on why he stayed and signed with Syracuse, Williams said, "I like what coach Doug Marrone started there with the building around New York thing, so that kinda stuck with me and the fact that you try to build something positive for New York 'cause we're New York's team. And the signing of [cornerback] Brandon Reddish, [offensive lineman] Ivan Foy, those are two of my best friends. Wayne Morgan. And he's bringing Brooklyn and New York some football team, so you gotta respect it. You gotta like what he's doing over there."
Williams has taken it upon himself to continue the bond between the Orange football program and New York, including Brooklyn. "I'm trying to speak for New York," Williams expressed. "A lot of people don't think New York can play football at all and they don't give us the credit that we deserve. We have a lot of freakish athletes in New York. So, if I can help bring spotlights to the kids that's gonna come after me, that's a great job by me if I don't make it to the NFL, which I'm sure that'll be a good opportunity for exposure for the kids."
This connection Williams has with the Orange did not simply come from his relationship with Anselmo. "[Defensive line] Coach [Tim] Daoust and me have a great relationship. Me and him talk all the time, met at Lincoln [High School]," Williams shared.
He also has built a positive relationship with Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer. "When you start talking to the head coach on a personable level, that means a lot 'cause that means he has a lot of faith in you," Williams expressed.
Though some of the recruits in his area, Augustus Edwards and Laray Smith, wavered and eventually chose elsewhere, the coaching changes did not shake Williams. "Not at all, not at all," he said. "They're younger than me, so the fact that me being older, I already have my own opinion on things...I'm coming there to do my job and when it's all said and done my job will be done."
"Everybody expects me to go out there...and I just wanna live up to my word, live up to what people expect me to do," Williams added. "You're representing your team, New York's team, so I just wanna go out and make everybody proud."
Williams is not alone when it comes to supporting and celebrating the Brooklyn way of football. "Me, Ivan Foy, Brandon Reddish, all of us, all our Brooklyn dudes. We [are] trying to bring Brooklyn swagger to Syracuse," Williams stated. "Everybody thinks Brooklyn, we're hard, tough, and that's exactly the way we wanna play. So, we [are] trying to keep everything the same."
As far as where he will be setting up to take down opposing offenses, Williams said, "When we get up there and he (Scott Shafer) sees me move, he's gonna see that he can put me at any position on the D-line. I can go play nose. I can play the [defensive tackle position] and I can go out there and play end. And that's a match-up that O-line's don't really wanna see too much, so the fact that I'm so big that I can do that is gonna be a huge advantage for us."
Concerning his image, Williams shared, "I watched the blogs. People expected that I was a little cocky. I don't want them to think my cockiness is confidence. I'm very confident in my abilities. Anybody should be. So I expect to go out there 100% and leave nothing on the field and come out with a win every game."
Coming from the junior college ranks, Williams defined what Syracuse taking talent from there is stating. "It means that they're going to all means to get what they want, to win big," Williams offered. "There's a lot of hungry junior college kids that people don't know about that's really out here ballin' that could be at any D-I school they want to. So, the fact that he's (Scott Shafer) given JC kids a chance to shine, he's definitely gonna show big results."
Playing on the defensive side of the ball, Williams likes the fact that the Orange leader was their former defensive coordinator. "It's definitely a great thing," said Williams. "He's a defensive coordinator. Now, he's the head coach so all the crazy, sick dreams that defensive coordinators have, there's no 'no' button no more. So, I expect a lot of great schemes on defense."
Looking to the fellow signees, Williams shared who he has been building a relationship with. "The kid Isaiah [Johnson] from Delaware, I met him on my visit," Williams recalled. "He's a great kid, great size and all that, and he has a good head on his shoulders, so I hope [I] meet up with him again when we get to Syracuse and we'll have fun and ball out."