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Univesity of Arkansas football signee Turell Williams of Helena-West Helena Central must make a detour to Kansas before donning his Razorback jersey, but he remains steadfast in doing so in the future.
Williams (6-2, 215, 4.6), all set to play for the East team in Friday's All-Star Football game in Bentonville, will matriculate to junior college powerhouse Butler County Community College first before taking up permanent residence in Fayetteville.
"At first as I thought about how I might not make it (to Arkansas), it was kind of disappointing," Williams said. "But as I got a chance and Butler came through, I looked at it as an advantage for me. I get a chance to come in and get a little more experience on playing defense."
Indeed, Williams – who was the Cougars' tailback last season - will be playing at linebacker for Butler, who has won back-to-back junior college national titles and five since 1998.
"I was coming up here to play defense and wanted to come in and play right away, but not being able to defense so much in high school, I felt like it would have been a setback and had me in a hole with it," Williams said. "So going to Butler, it's kind of crazy, but I think it was one the best choices I could make."
He has plans to be back in time to go through spring practice in 2011 and then play that fall.
"I can't wait to get back up here and they can't wait for me to get back up here either ," Williams said. "Going to Butler is a great thing, but I can't wait to come back to Arkansas either."
Williams plans to take advantage of his time in Butler, where he will work on his weakness and who will open its season at Blinn (Texas) CC on Aug. 29.
"Up there, I would have to say coverage skills," Williams said. "Because when you play SEC, your defensive package and your offensive package are so specialized with so many different teams. Now you have to be able to turn and run with receivers running 4.3 and 4.2…You cover that man and play smart with them and not work so hard. I think I am a pretty good tackler and my toughness comes out in it," Williams said.
This will be the first high school football game for Williams since his team suffered a 35-32 loss to Pulaski Academy in the Class 5A state championhip game in December.
"I never said I was over it," Williams said. "We have to live past it. It was a heartbreaker for us, to play like that and how we gave them the game. PA was a good team, too, and the better team won."
He'll get a shot this Friday to go against West quarterback Spencer Keith of Pulaski Academy.
"I told Keith I am going to get him this game since we are 1-1," Williams said. "I have got to get him this game because I can handle losing this one.
"We'll see how it turns out, but hopefully I can win the series because it is 1-1 - we won the first game (the 2008 season opener) and they won the championship," Williams added. "That would have counted more, but hopefully I can win the series out and the all-star game.
Williams is likely to see action on both sides of the ball on Friday night.
"They want me to play both sides, but how it goes is that I can't do it until the second half," Williams said. "I think they want me to start out at running back and then move to linebacker in the second half or something like that."
Williams said he is excited about being around the state's best players and wants to prove he is one of them.
"When you come out here, everybody is equal because it is the all-star game and everybody is a big-time player," Williams said. "I do want to go out and showcase this and I want to be the MVP of the game, at least show why I am one of the best players in Arkansas and why they got me."