“It was a tough decision and I didn’t want to rush it,” Williams said.
Robeson County’s Offensive Player of the Year finalized his collegiate destination on Sunday surrounded by family and friends at Sandy Grove AME Zion in Lumber Bridge, signing with Division II national title game runner-up Winston-Salem State. Williams is the county’s fourth football player to sign a national letter of intent this month.
“They told me they wanted a big back like they had a couple years ago with (Nic Cooper),” Williams said. “They’re strong academically too and had 21 players make the Dean’s List. I want to major in sports administration.”
Williams joins former area player of the year Maurice Lewis in the Rams’ backfield, a rising senior in Winston-Salem coming off a career-best 1,027-yard season. Williams said his felt comfortable after an official visit and picked WSSU over North Carolina A&T among several others.
“We feel like Shawn was a huge steal for us,” said Rams assistant coach Duane Taylor. “He has a lot of interests from Division IAA programs, so the fact that we got him was pretty big. Shawn has the same type of work ethic Maurice has and he possesses the size and speed to finish off plays.”
Williams led the county in rushing yards this season and finished his prep career with nearly 3,600 yards on the ground. His 29 total touchdowns as a senior was second only to Blake Greene’s 1A-leading total in the area. As the Bulldogs’ workhorse, Williams rushed for over 100 yards in 10 of 13 games and lost only two fumbles on 272 touches
WSSU’s fast-paced spread offense is similar to the Bulldogs’ hurry-up. St. Pauls statistically ranked near top of the 2A ranks in yardage, first downs and points per game last season and won nine games for the first time in six years.
“I think it helps college coaches evaluate talent when they can see what a kid does in their type of offense,” said St. Pauls football coach Trey Sasser. “He brings the size they’re looking for it and has a lot of ability.”
Added Taylor: “We think he’ll be a fourth quarter guy. Not a lot of guys will be able to tackle him late in the game. We plan to use a lot of counters and zone-reads with him like he did in high school.”
Williams is one of two ball-carriers the Rams signed in this year’s class joining Butler’s Josh Glisson, a state 4AA champion. Taylor anticipates four running backs on roster heading into fall and says both incoming freshman will have a chance to make an immediate impact.
“Maurice was great last year, but he got a little nicked up in the second half of the season and we played about five running backs,” Taylor said. “Three of those guys are leaving. Me and Shawn already had the (playing time) discussion. I told him that we don’t recruit backups in our program. As long as he continues to work hard and stays in the weight room, we think he can be a factor.”