Williams surprising himself, has surprise

It's hard to think that true freshman Jamaal Williams was playing high school football this time last year. Now he's scoring touchdowns against ACC and Pac-12 teams, much to his surprise. But while his early success has even caught him a little off guard, he has a surprise wish for the future.

Against then-tenth-ranked Pac-12 team Oregon State, Jamaal Williams rushed for two touchdowns, and against the ACC's Georgia Tech, he ran for three and caught another. But the young man from Fontana, California deflects any credit, instead giving credit to his teammates.

"It mostly just came because of the defense giving us good field position," said Williams. "Our defense did a good job of getting us good field position and I know our offense is good in the blue zone. I feel like our offense just came out and did a good job and most of the credit goes to our defense for giving our offense good field position, and for our offensive line doing a really good job up front blocking. Most of the credit should go to the offensive linemen."

Williams is a rare talent for his young age, but what makes him even more remarkable is the type of person he is. In today's world, most young athletes relish in the glory of their success and the praises from adoring fans.

"I never really thought about it – never really thought about these things because I just like playing football," said an unassuming Williams.

So how does he feel he's done this year?

"I think I'm doing pretty good and I think I'm doing better than I expected I was going to do this year," said Williams. "I expected I was going to play, but not a lot. I just thought I was going to mostly play special teams because I like special teams, especially in college. It's just a whole bunch of fun!"

With Williams, much of his runs generally come based on zone reads that allow him to run based on how things develop.

"Mostly all the runs that we have are mostly to see how it feels," said Williams. "It's really to see if the linemen are flowing too hard or not flowing enough. I feel like it's mostly my eyes that have helped me the most to make the linemen right no matter what they do. I feel like I'm getting better and better when I get the ball. I just have to keep on working hard and good things happen to you. That's what I've learned so far."

Always teachable and willing to learn, Williams is looking forward to the return of fellow running back Michael Alisa next year.

"Unfortunately, Michael Alisa got hurt this year and that really hurt us this year because he's such a great runner and leader on the team," Williams said. "I had to really step up and move forward, but I thank God for giving me the chance and the support to help me to step up.

"I think it will be unbelievable to have Michael back for next year. I think having him back is going to just add another part to our offense, and I think it will be good because we can learn from each other. But mostly, I can learn from him because he knows a lot more than I do. It's going to be really good having Mike back because he's a great running back and I think we can do some good things next year to cause some problems for some people."

In speaking of next year's expectations, Williams hopes to continue to improve towards reaching his full potential.

"I also want to get more in the weight room and get bigger, because I think more of my speed will come as I get older," Williams said with a smile. "I'm still not fully developed and my body is still growing. I just can't wait for me to get grown-man status. Then I can be big and fast and think it would be wonderful."

But Williams also has a secret desire that he wants to reveal to Coach Mendenhall soon. It's a secret he believes will help him reach that potential a lot sooner.

"I want to run track, mostly, but I still have to talk to Coach Mendenhall about that first," said Williams. "I haven't brought it up to him yet, but I think I'll probably talk to him about it when it gets closer to the end of the season. Hopefully he'll let me run because I want to do track again. They're doing workouts now, but I'm not sure what time they officially going to start practicing."

And how is his relationship with BYU's coaches?

"It's wonderful and it's great and they all treat me as though I'm one of their sons," said Williams. "I see them as father figures for me and that's important because I had one growing up as a kid. You gotta have someone to look up to as a positive role model, so mostly everybody here I look up to because of the kind of people they are. We have wonderful men here as coaches and their like father figures for me."

So how is he going to approach Mendenhall about running track?

"I don't know," Williams said with a boyish grin. "I'll probably might have to give him the lovey-dovey; give him a hug or something and just smile really big before I ask him."

Williams ran track in high school and ran the 100 meters in 11.0 flat. As he continues to physically develop he could potentially get in the high 10.90 area, but he'll have to first get the okay from his head coach.

"It's been a while since I've ran, so I don't know how fast I am right now as far as track speed goes," Williams said. "I still go to the track and run though and do some kind of track practice things. My mom keeps me on that but I'll ask Coach Mendenhall soon to see if it would be okay to run track. I'll just have to smile really big when I ask him."


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