Introducing the 2006 Class: Kyle Williams

His accolades speak from themselves. 2,294 all-purpose yards and 30 touchdowns as a senior and several player of the year awards are remarkable achievements for any football player. However, what makes Kyle Williams' success even more extraordinary, is the fact that that he sat out his entire junior campaign with an elbow injury, and showed no ill effects whatsoever from that event. The wide receiver's resiliency may be even bigger than his exceptional football skills.

"I tore my elbow on my third carry of the first game of the season," recalled the 5-10 185 Kyle Williams. "No school obviously contacted me during my junior year season and I don't blame them." Thus, the blow was twice as devastating – not being able to play meant no recruiting attention. The injury was probably just as devastating mentally as it was physically. "I felt like I was cursed, and when my senior year started up I was playing a little tentative because I was afraid to get hurt again," said Williams. "But if you're my size and you play tentatively, something is gonna happen. All kind of things can happen if you don't go 100% every play."

The Chaparral (Ariz.) standout stated that healing an injury, let alone having success on the gridiron, requires just a simple formula. "I knew how hard I had to work to get where I wanted to be, so I worked real hard in the off-season," commented Williams. "I always believe that if you prepare like you're supposed to, everything else will take care of itself, and that's why I had a good senior year."

Father Ken, the General Manager of the World Champion Chicago White Sox, was ironically always afraid for his son's physical welfare, and tried to urge him to pick baseball over football. "He told me that if I just concentrated on baseball I could get drafted and make a lot of money," said the wide receiver. "My whole family is involved in baseball, and I felt that if I choose football, that it will be something I get to do on my own."

Nevertheless, his love for both sports is genuine, and he looks forward to donning the maroon and gold for more than just a few months a year. "I've always been a two-sport athlete, and never liked one sport over the other," he explained. "This year was the first time where I really chose one sport. Football right now is my number one sport. I'm still gonna play baseball at Arizona State. (ASU Baseball) Coach Murphy said that if the football team didn't offer me a scholarship he would. He's probably happy that I saved him a scholarship – he's getting me for free (laughs)."

The future second baseman looks forward to reuniting with former Chaparral teammate and current Sun Devil phenom, pitcher/outfielder Ike Davis. "Ike Davis is my boy, so I go to see him play a lot. It will cool playing with him again."

Williams was an all-region honorable mention in baseball as a sophomore and junior, and last year he helped the Firebirds win the 4A state baseball championship. With that in mind, how does he feel about June's baseball amateur draft and the possibility that he may be picked in an early round. "I made my decision and that's to play football," he claimed. "I know I can have the best of both worlds, and play football and minor league baseball in the off-season. But my dad said that something really hard to do, so I won't do it. I'm very fortunate that ASU football and ASU baseball are some of the best teams in the country, so I'm fine playing for both."

Another reason for his thinking, is witnessing future football teammate, safety Mike Nixon, who played four years of minor league, before returning to the gridiron where he excelled in high school. "Seeing his situation does help me make my decision," admitted Williams. "I've seen a lot guys take the money, but don't make it to the majors and lose out on going to college."

While he's being touted as a wide receiver for the Sun Devils, Williams' fine play last season was taking place at the running back position. Williams rushed for 1,160 yards on 108 carries with 17 touchdowns. Nonetheless, his versatility was quite evident. He caught 30 passes for 625 yards and six touchdowns, returned nine kickoffs for 364 yards and two touchdowns, and returned 15 punts for 316 yards and three touchdowns. "My speed is my strength," he said as he self-assessed his skills. "I obviously need to get stronger at the college level. I did play some receiver in high school, so I have to work more on my skills playing that position and on my hands. I told the ASU coaches that I'll play anywhere they want me to. As long as I'm putting on that ASU jersey on Saturday nights, I'm good."

Playing for the hometown school is always a source of great pride. However, the lights seem to always shine brighter on local high school stars like Williams, as every one of his plays will be scrutinized by hundreds of his family and fans attending his games. How does his view this perspective and its possible effect on his career? "I see it as a positive," replied Williams. "I'm gonna have a lot of people who have supported me in the past come and watch my games. People know what I can do and that motivates me. It's a great opportunity. It's also easy to see myself fitting in. I went to some spring practices because I live so close, and you feel that you already getting used to what they're doing there. It's really an advantage. You're gonna have pressure anyway playing college football. Playing close to come doesn't add pressure."

Williams stated that he's in "good shape" to qualify academically. Like virtually all of his fellow newcomers, he will attend ASU's bridge program. Thus, he will be taking summer school classes, along with participating in the school's off-season weight and conditioning program. "I'm gonna go down there, do what I need to do, and get better," he said. "I was asking the coaches if I redshirt in football how does that affect baseball, and they said something like ‘don't worry, you won't redshirt.' So I'm not planning on it and I'm ready to go."

And we've already seen what a prepared Kyle Williams can do on the field…

Recruit Profile

Name

Kyle Williams

High School
Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.)


Position

WR

Height

5-10

Weight

185

Date of birth

7/19/88

Birthplace

Los Angeles, Calif.

Nickname

"Prime Time."

Favorite TV show

"Chappelle Show."

Favorite movie

"Scarface."

Favorite singer/band

"Lil Wayne."

Favorite food

"Steak."

Favorite drink

"Orange Soda."

Favorite athlete

"Reggie Bush."

Favorite pro team

"Chicago White Sox."

Person you most admire

"My dad, because how hard he has worked to get where he's at right now."

First football memory

"I was six years old, it was my first time playing, and the first time I touched the ball I scored a touchdown on a kickoff return. I spiked the ball after I scored (smile)."

One thing most people don't know about me

"People know everything there is to know about me (smile)."

Why did you choose ASU?

"They always stuck with me and showed me love."

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"Still playing – either football or baseball. If that doesn't work out, I'd like to work in sports broadcasting."

Sun Devil Source Top Stories