The lanky 6-foot-1 wideout from Pine Forest High School just wanted to help bring wins.
Two season later, as the Braves most productive receiver the past two years with 86 catches and 1,166 yards, he’s done his part contributing to UNCP victories in all kinds of ways.
“I want to be the best kind of receiver I can be all around,” said Williams. “Get yards after the catch, block, run the deep ball, as well as the comeback route.
“I’m definitely working at being the best I can be and be at my peak.”
On the way to his wideout heights, Williams has begun grabbing school records, starting last week during the Braves’ 20-10 win at Tusculum. There, Williams hauled in a school record 10 catches for a career-high 152 yards and a touchdown. The six-point snag was Williams’ 14th of his career, setting the school record for touchdown receptions.
“He’s just giving us a great offensive threat,” UNCP head coach Pete Shinnick said. “We knew when we recruited him that he was a special player … I think he’s having a breakout third year.”
En route to etching his name into UNCP lore, this season Williams has caught 30 balls for 424 yards and six touchdowns, all team-highs.
“I wasn’t really focused on breaking any records,” said Williams, who currently sits just 17 receptions and 55 receiving yards away from becoming the school’s all-time leader in those categories. “Honestly, I just wanted to come in and help my team as much I could and do my part and focus on winning.”
This season, winning is all Williams and the Braves have been doing.
UNCP (5-1) rides a five-game win streak heading into its homestand with Charleston, W.Va. (5-1) on Saturday at 2 p.m. inside Grace P. Johnson Stadium. Additionally, for the first time this season, the Braves enter ranked — No. 24 — by the American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches Poll, a fact Coach Shinnick and company have made sure not to dwell on.
“We said, it’s great, but we asked if anyone remembered who was ranked 24th after six weeks last year, and nobody knew,” Shinnick said. “So it really doesn’t matter right now. It’s out there, great, now let’s just keep doing what we’re doing.”
Usher in 5-1 Charleston, winners of its last two, which is coming off a 30-13 win over WVIAC rival Seton Hall. The Golden Eagles vaunted defense, giving up an average of 16 points a game, held Seton Hall to just 46 rushing yards.
“They’re a physical football team and have been very productive on both sides of the ball,” Shinnick said. “They stop the run and run the ball well, that is their winning formula.”
Shouldering the Charleston offense of late is running back Jordan Roberts who racked up 205 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win. He’s rushed for 353 yards the past two games.
“You can’t let him get momentum,” Shinnick said. “He’s a very physical back. He attacks the hole very well, runs downhill and runs hard. You got to close some of those running lanes and not give him room.”
UNCP won the two schools only previous meeting with a 52-14 road victory last year on Oct. 15. Since then, the Braves have only lost two games total, both at the hands of national powerhouse Winston-Salem, currently ranked third.
“We really became a family during last season,” Williams said. “We went 8-3, we knew we were good and could be even better coming into this season and make the playoffs. We’re on track right now and we’re doing a great job of staying focused.”