Night Owl

Since February, many nights have ended the same way for Hafis Williams.

The future Notre Dame defensive lineman would clock out of work from his job at Wal-Mart at 11 p.m. It'd then take Hafis Williams 15 minutes to get back to his Elizabeth, N.J. home. He'd shower and make a bite to eat, before grabbing his Irish playbook and studying until those eyelids became to heavy to hold.

"I'll be reading it and fall asleep to it," Williams said with a laugh.

Williams won't be falling asleep on his Saturday flight to South Bend. He's anxious to report to Notre Dame for summer school, and get the next chapter of his life underway.

"I can't wait," he said. Williams will room with Brandon Newman this summer. "It's like a couple days away. I'm definitely excited."

And worried.

Newman sent Williams a text this week to ask him what he was bringing to the dorm.

"I said I don't even know, just that I have a lot of stuff," Williams said. "I'm bringing like four or five bags. I don't even know how the plane is going to hold all that."

Besides studying his playbook and learning the responsibilities of the Irish defensive linemen, Williams has been hard at work in the weight room. Thanks to Notre Dame strength and conditioning coach Ruben Mendoza's workout plan, Williams will report to school standing in at 6-foot-3, 286 pounds.

"When I first seen that, I was just in awe," Williams said of the program. "When I started looking through it, I was like I can do this. But when you start doing it, you're like oh man! My coach watched me do the whole workout, and he was pushing me to the bone, so I know what's in store when I get out there.

Williams has also been watching what he eats.

"Just doing the little things, preparing my body and preparing for the transition from high school to college."

Playing in the recent New York-New Jersey All-Star classic also gave Williams a taste of that transition.

"I started," Williams stated. He isn't sure if he'll play end, tackle or both at ND. "We beat New York, 33-22. I had four tackles. It was mainly, just like, everybody got playing time. I wasn't used to getting out and getting back in. I'm used to getting into a rhythm, but with other all-stars on your team, you have to share the wealth.

"It was also hot that day. It was 100 degrees and it felt like 140 on the field. I hope it's not that hot at Notre Dame."

Williams is really hoping to get his grandmother, also his guardian, to campus this fall for a home game. Perhaps one he'll be playing in.

"If I get playing time, that's great," Williams said. "That'd be like a huge momentum thing to me. Coming in as a true freshman and actually playing, that would be a real big thing. It would make being there even more special."


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