Williams Has His Three Priorities In Line

Old-time football fans will remember Vince Lombardi and Gale Sayers. Those two NFL icons were rivals in the same division of the old NFL, the one now know as the NFC North. Lombardi was the hard-driving, no-nonsense coach who attended Catholic mass every day and preached to his players that they should have their lives in order with God first, their family second, and the Green Bay Packers third.

His players swore Lombardi often had those mixed up. Sayers, the Kansas comet, was a speedster for Lombardi's coaching rival, George Halas, and the Chicago Bears. Sayers once scored six touchdowns in a game against the San Francisco 49ers, and he was the closest thing to Barry Sanders before Sanders was even born. His autobiography was titled "I Am Third," meaning that God was first, his family was second, and Sayers was third.

OSU defensive tackle signee Joyan Williams has his priorities laid out similarly.

"To me, God is first in my life, then my family, and then my school," Williams quickly responded when asked about what was important to him outside of football. "Those are the three most important things that I cherish outside of football."

Williams is from Edna Karr High School in New Orleans, a very special school that has been around since1964, but after Hurricane Katrina it re-opened as one of the first six schools in the Orleans Parish to come back on line after the storm. Karr came back as an open-enrollment college prep school under the Algiers Charter School Association.

Students are required to take four years of math, science, English, and social studies, requirements above and beyond those of the state. Two years of foreign language as well as one unit of computer technology, a half-unit of ACT/SAT prep, and a half-unit of speech complete the required courses. Karr's student body is 92 percent African-American, and most of its graduates become first-generation college students in their family.

Williams has a role model to follow, and he was actually recruited by him. Oklahoma State graduate assistant defensive line coach Eric Henderson is a graduate of Edna Karr who went on to become an All-ACC defensive end for Glenn Spencer at Georgia Tech. He then went on to play two seasons for the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL before an injury cut his career short.

"It's pretty cool, because when you get to Karr he is the one that holds all the old records (sacks and tackles for losses), and you wonder who that is," said Williams. "Now I know, because he is the one that is recruiting me. It's a big opportunity to meet him and get to know him. Eric Henderson is a big reason I want to be an Oklahoma State Cowboy."

Same position, same high school, and now both in Stillwater; Williams could be on a similar path as his role model.

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