It took some convincing, but Cualan Williams finally decided to play football in 2015.
The Lafayette County (Ark.) class of 2017 wide receiver initially agreed to play as a sophomore, but changed his mind and focused on basketball.
Then, when Bobby Clark was hired as the Cougars’ new head coach before his junior season, Williams decided to give football a shot.
“When I talked to coach Clark, he wanted me to play football and we’ve always been real close because of track,” Williams said. “He was my track coach, so I did it for him.
“I’m really happy that I did and I fell back in love with the game.”
Not only did Williams fall back in love with the game, but he also dominated it.
He racked up 683 yards and 13 touchdowns on just 23 receptions. That’s an average of 29.7 yards per catch. He also returned five punts for 249 yards, for an average of nearly 50 yards per return. All but one of the returns ended in touchdowns.
To top it all off, Williams (6-3, 205, 4.48) also intercepted two passes on defense.
“It was fun,” Williams said. “I knew I was good, but I didn’t expect for it to be like that. It was amazing. I got a lot of attention and it just made it more fun for me.”
Of course, with all the production, Lafayette County’s opponents took notice. They game planned for Williams and resorted to double-teaming him.
“I got a lot of that,” Williams said. “Nobody would play me man-to-man because I’d blow right by them. They’d play off me. One would be five or six yards off me, and then somebody over the top.”
Williams models his game after former Ole Miss star receiver Laquon Treadwell and current Alabama star receiver Calvin Ridley and takes pride in his blocking and being able to shed would-be tacklers.
Still, there are several areas of his game he hopes to improve heading into his senior season.
“Me and coach have been working on the 50/50 balls,” Williams said. “Honestly, I don’t know how to run crisp routes, like I’m supposed to run them. (I also want to) make my footwork better, stuff like that.”
While he doesn’t have any scholarship offers yet, Williams said several school have shown interest, including Arkansas, Arkansas State, Baylor and Ole Miss.
He said he hopes to attend a camp in Fayetteville, but he doesn’t know when. If he does, it won’t be his first time on Arkansas’ campus.
“I came to the Auburn game last year,” Williams said. “It was a good game. It was amazing. It’s real nice up there.”
Williams has always lived in Arkansas and been an Arkansas fan, so playing for the Razorbacks would be a dream come true.
But he also feels like he could help the team if given the opportunity.
“With how I play, I think Fayetteville would be a good fit,” Williams said. “That’s why I like Arkansas, because I can block real good and I can run routes and catch and score.
“It works right into that offense.”