Williams Embraces Role in Offense

A.J. Williams discusses his new role in the Michigan offense, plus the Keith Heitzman's transition to tight end. W/Video

ANN ARBOR -- Entering his third season at Michigan, A.J. Williams is looking to continue advancing his role in the Wolverines’ offense.

In his first two seasons at U-M, Williams’ role was simple – he blocked – he was rarely used in the passing game. He has appeared in 24 games in his Michigan career, making six starts. His lone catch for two yards resulted in his only touchdown reception at Iowa in 2013.

“It took opportunity,” Williams said. “It took capitalizing on those opportunities. You know it took when my number was called I had to make that catch, and I had to show that I had that ability.”

But a new season, means a new opportunity for the 6-foot-6, 260-pound tight end, and he has fully embraced the challenges of becoming a pass catching option.

“My role has actually evolved,” Williams said. “But you know, all the tight ends roles have evolved. Nobody is just one dimensional. Not one guy strictly blocking. Not one guy is strictly catching. Everybody is putting their hand in the dirt and everybody is standing up.”

Now, can he keep his every catch-to-touchdown ratio?

“I would love to keep that up,” Williams said. “But whatever I got to do for the team, I’ll do that.”


Fourth year junior Keith Heitzamn made a sacrifice this off-season when he switched his allegiances from defense to offense. The onetime defensive end, is now suited up at tight end, and he seems to be transitioning fairly well, according to Williams.

“You know, he did it a little bit in high school,” Williams said of Heitzman’s transition to tight end. “So it wasn’t all loss for him. So it came back to him kind of quick. He gets his feet in the ground fast [with] that defensive edge that he has. He has good hands. He know how to use them. So he’s not too far off.”

At 6-foot-4, 258-pounds, Heitzman’s size and strength have already been a major plus to the position group, says Williams.

“He is super strong,” Williams said. “He has this thing where he can one arm somebody. Literally he is strong enough he can one arm people. We teach him to put that one hand inside – he moves people off the ball.”

Williams, who also made a position switch from left tackle to tight end when arrived at U-M, says Heitzman’s made “tremendous” strides since the position switch in the spring.

“I’ve had two years to adjust to the position, Keith had a spring game,” Williams said. “What he’s done is tremendous. I applaud him for that. He helps any tight end who has motivation to start just from a receiver to become a blocker, or a blocker to a receiver. I mean, you can do it.”

The Michigan Insider Top Stories