Williams, now past the midway point of his senior season at East Cleveland (Ohio) Shaw, is relieved that the Buckeyes even bothered to offer him a scholarship – size or no size. As a junior, the wide receiver suffered two serious knee injuries, one of which went undiagnosed for a time.
"The doctors said my leg was too swollen to see on the X-ray and they told me to sit out but I didn't listen," Williams told BuckeyeSports.com. "I wanted to play so bad. I wanted to help the team, so I played anyway."
The first injury occurred when, while blocking, he attempted to leap over a player who was falling at his feet. His feet were stuck in the mud, Williams said, and the collision knocked the knee out of place.
He popped it back in and tried to walk off the field under his own power. It did not work.
"The physical therapist was moving my leg around and it felt good and then when I stood up they tried to help me to the sideline," he said. "They asked if I could walk and I said yes and they let me go and I fell back down and it popped back out of place."
Williams sat out for two weeks before returning for a road game against Lorain Southview. In one play of action while unknowingly operating with a torn ACL, he caught a 34-yard touchdown pass.
Now feeling more confident in his knee's ability to stand up to duress, Williams took to the field one week later for a home game against Warrensville Heights. A triple-overtime thriller, Williams helped pave the way for his team's 22-21 victory by blocking a field goal attempt in the second overtime.
He paid a price, however, as soon as he landed on the muddy field.
"If they would've made a field goal they would've won," Williams said. "I jumped up and blocked the field goal and when I came down and landed on my leg it popped out."
This time, it was the MCL that was torn, and Williams' season was over. The final total was 11 catches for 372 yards – an average of 33.8 yards per catch – for eight touchdowns in five games.
"Initially we thought he had just sprained his knee and we kept him out for a few weeks," Shaw head coach Rodney Brown said. "He was in practice performing his normal cuts and reads so we brought him back. We didn't know that all the time it was a torn ACL because he was cutting and stopping and jumping and everything was the same."
From a recruiting standpoint, missing a junior season can be a death sentence when it comes to landing scholarship offers. The past two seasons have seen the Buckeyes primarily fill up their recruiting classes before the summer comes to a close.
However, OSU remained in on Williams despite his abbreviated junior campaign.
"Ohio State stayed with me," he said, adding that the Buckeyes were the only school to really do so.
A scholarship offer arrived from OSU in February about four months after the coaches started recruiting him. He would also land offers from West Virginia, Cincinnati and Kansas, but the one from the Buckeyes was the offer Williams said he coveted.
"I just couldn't wait," he said. "I was so excited that Ohio State offered me a scholarship. That's always been my favorite college football team and my favorite player on the team is Terrelle Pryor. I think it would be good that both tall 6-6 players could play with each other. I couldn't wait, so I just committed."
Brown said the Buckeyes are getting a home-run hitter with untapped potential in Williams.
"He's still learning football," he said. "I tell people if they think he's good now, just wait until you see him in the future. When he gets to college, he's going to be in the right program and I get excited for Tyrone.
"I think the next three years are going to have some phenomenal growth for Tyrone. I think he's going to turn into a great, great student athlete at Ohio State."