Cards have high expectations for Williams

Junior college transfer Willie Williams could be a major factor at defensive tackle for the Louisville Cardinals next season. The 6-4, 310-pound Williams arrived at U of L in January, and appears to have the physical attributes to make an impact on the defensive front this spring.

Willie Williams could be a major factor at defensive tackle for the Louisville Cardinals next season.

A junior college transfer from Georgia Military Institute, Williams enrolled at U of L in January. He participated in the Cardinals winter conditioning program, and is currently seeing reps with the second team defense behind current starters Amobi Okoye and Adrian Grady.

Defensive Coordinator Mike Cassity said the 6-4 Williams has plenty to learn, but spoke highly of his size, quickness and willingness to learn.

"Willie joined us at mid-year," Cassity said. "He's got a lot of work to do, but you look at his size, his want-to, and his athleticism, and we have high expectations for him."

Williams was considered one of the top junior college defensive linemen nationally. He played with U of L linebacker Nate Harris at Dodge (KS) C.C. before transferring to GMI last year. Williams committed to play at Kansas State next season, but those plans changed when Bill Snyder retired after last season.

"I'm really pleased with Willie," defensive line coach Kevin Wolthausen said. "It's one of those things that I have to remember that he's brand new to how we do things, but he does a good job of paying attention and seeing what the other guys are doing and following their lead as far as where to be, how to get there and those types of things. He picks up football very well."

Williams said he's just trying to fit in with his new team.

"I'm just trying to get acclimated to the program, and trying to cope with the system that they've got here," Williams said. "School is going good. Georgia Military is real strict academically, so it's not any harder here."

With Okoye and Grady, along with highly talented sophomore Earl Heyman, returning at tackle, the battle for playing time on the defensive front should be one of the more heated competitions to watch this spring. Williams said the presence of those three players have motivated him to become a better person on and off the field.

"I love those guys," said Williams. "Those guys make me a better person. I know I wasn't the best player coming in here, but working with them everyday has made me a better player."

Williams also benefited from U of L's weight training and conditioning program over the winter. Not only did he drop some unneeded weight, but he's quicker and faster than he was the day he arrived on campus.

"Coach Veltkamp has a good program," Williams said. "I came here weighing about 320, and he's got me down to 308. I'm running good, my forty time is better."

So what can fans expect to see from No. 92 this spring?

"I just give it 100 percent," Williams said. "They're going to see a player who works hard every play, and won't let his team down."

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