Camp Amato: Williams Set to Return on Monday

<B>Raleigh, NC --</b> It's been nearly five months since NC State tight end T.J. Williams has participated in full contact workouts, and he'll be back at it next Monday according to the talented junior.

During fall practice he's worn the dreaded pink jersey, given to players unable to participate in contact drills.

"It's coming off Monday for sure," Williams told Pack Pride following Thursday's practice. "I'm ready to get back into the full workout."

Williams pointed out that he originally injured the shoulder during the first game of his freshman year, but played through the pain for two seasons. He re-aggravated it this spring on a tackle from free safety Marcus Hudson and had surgery in April.

"It's been hurting ever since my freshman year, but I kept playing with it," he said. "We decided the best thing to do was have the surgery this April and get it taken care of."

Although he hasn't been able to participate in full contact drills, Williams has continued to develop his receiving skills.

"It's not been real tough because I've been doing pass routes and running," Williams said. "The only difference is I haven't been blocking because of the injury, but I'll do that next week. I've been looking forward to it because I think my technique is better now."

Now he is fully focused on the upcoming season and believes the Wolfpack can surprise a lot of folks with their play.

"I feel real good," Williams said. "I'm just ready for the season. I think we're going to be pretty good this year. A lot of people are thinking about our departures, but I think we have a lot of great players coming back."

As a sophomore Williams had 28 receptions for 444 yards and was tabbed an honorable mention All-ACC selection. He'll likely be the safety valve for NC State's new quarterback and should be back just in time to have two full weeks of practice before the September 4th season opener against Richmond.

"I knew what I could do on the field and the coaches put me in position to make plays last year," Williams said. "Whenever I get in those situations I'm going to do my job. I'm just staying focused and trying to be the best I can be."

"This year I just want to be in a position to make plays," he added. "I'll do what it takes to get open, regardless of who's guarding me."

There's no question that Williams will be the go-to guy at tight end for NC State in '04, but he acknowledges that there is some quality depth at the position. True freshmen Octavious Darby and Anthony Hill have already impressed the Wolfpack standout with their play and are considered the future stars at tight end for NC State.

"Those two guys are going to be great," Williams said. "Darby catches the ball a lot and he's more of a fullback/tight end... a guy that we'll motion a lot. Hill's a strong overall tight end. He can run and he can block. With those two together in a two-tight end set... it would be very tough to stop."


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