Not offered a scholarship by the hometown Gamecocks and making his way to Auburn, the senior linebacker had every reason to be thankful after a big 48-7 victory Saturday night, but it was teammate Tommy Jackson that was doing all the thanking following the win.
"It was huge," Jackson said of the win. "This is all about killer man (Williams). I can't believe they overlooked him.
"First of all I need to thank South Carolina for letting us get Travis Williams. I tell you what, if it wasn't for him we wouldn't be where we are. That dude, he is the heart that pumps. He helps us all out. If you look at defense as a body, he has got to be the heart in it. I am just glad to play with him. He is a heck of a teammate, a great guy."
Williams and Marquies Gunn wrap up a Gamecock ball carrier in the second half of the 48-7 victory. Auburn held South Carolina to 199 yards of total offense.
The leader of Auburn's defense and 2004 All-SEC performer, Williams is usually the player the defense looks to in times of trouble and to give them encouragement. Saturday night they looked to Williams for inspiration and he said that was something special to take away from this game. The team rallied for him in victory and he said he won't forget that.
"Yes, it was satisfying," he noted. "T.J. said he was going to play hard for me. I think the whole team was just playing the way they played and I told T.J. when we get to his rival I know I will step my play up to a whole other level."
For Jackson it was simply a matter of respect. Playing hard for a common goal is what it's all about in a team sport and for the Opelika native there was not a better reason than number 51 and his teammates.
"Playing for somebody else is totally what it is about," Jackson said. "When we were in prayer meeting last night, we said, 'What other guy are you going to play for?' That is just what we did, like I played for Wayne (Dickens). Wayne played for Travis. Travis Played for A.T. (Antarrious Williams). A.T. played for Pat Lee. It is just like that. Just play for everybody and I think that has really helped this team out. People won't get so caught up on trying to make plays because it is going to come to the guy that is just doing their job."
With that mentality the Tigers dominated the line of scrimmage and the play against a South Carolina offense that was never good enough. The leader of that was Williams, who finished with a team-high 11 tackles and also caused a fumble. Known for having high energy on the field at all times, Williams said it was a little different for him playing the Gamecocks and he responded by playing well.
"I believe it is one of my better games, just flying around and making plays and playing relentless," Williams said. "I was sitting in my hotel room and I was thinking, like I was saying before, this is my only chance to say I told you so. I was getting phone calls from everyone in Columbia and just wishing me luck and just telling me that they wished they would have had me, it was a big mistake. They were hoping that I would play well, but that South Carolina wins. But, it was just something that I have been waiting for. Something I have been waiting for, for a long time."
For Williams the game was yet another in a long line of victories for the small, but intense linebacker. Told by South Carolina and some others that he was just too small, Williams continues to fight the battle for every player told they're not good enough to play for their hometown school.
"If you have got a kid that wants to go to your school and he is one of the top players in your state, you have at least got to give him a chance," Williams said. "Every time I play, I play for my family, I play for God and I play to prove people wrong about my size and my abilities. I think with those three things I can always have fuel on my fire, and I think this was a good statement today."