OU's two tackles

Sooners' long-time bookends have developed a special bond

The friendship forged between Oklahoma offensive tackles Tyrus Thompson and Daryl Williams has taken on many forms.

The two have been roommates, friends and teammates. Williams is even the godfather of Thompson’s two children.

By far the most meaningful relationship the two ever had was the first. It was also the most important one for the Sooners, too.

Four years ago, Thompson was Williams’ recruiter.

“He recruited me more than the coaches did,” Williams said. “. . . He recruited me hard.”

The two met during the Army All-American festivities, and eventually, Thompson convinced Williams to join a recruiting class that would wind up being the core of Oklahoma’s offensive line for the next five years. Bronson Irwin, Adam Shead and Austin Woods were already a part of that class before Williams committed to the Sooners.

The relationship has developed well beyond that first role.

“That's my brother, man,” Thompson said.

On the surface, Thompson and Williams are opposites. Sporting long dreads, Thompson is outgoing, occasionally brash and full of jokes. Williams, who has a much tighter haircut, is far more reserved, carefully considering ever word he uses.

Together, they’re a bit different. The two like to peek through cameras during press conferences and ask their teammates questions – most aren’t very hard-hitting, though.

“In a lot of ways, we’re the same, and a lot of ways, we’re different,” said Williams, who called out to Thompson on Monday, telling him to leave him alone and not ‘to eat, either.’ “I just do my thing. I talk with my actions. He’s like a brother to me.

“I think it’s a blessing that he’s in my life like a brother.”

What makes the two different off the field has helped each’s development. Williams thrives on technique, despite having the all-around ability to be considered an NFL Draft pick next season.

Thompson has plenty of athleticism and at 6-foot-5, 336 pounds is the prototypical size for a left tackle, which is why he is projected by some as a mid-first round pick.

The two have passed on their traits to each other. When Williams had to step in for Thompson in the Sugar Bowl last year, Thompson showed his friendly counterpart a thing or two. Although, he didn’t have to show Williams much.

“There's not much I can do to help him on that kind of stuff,” Thompson said. “He does that great by himself.”

The two were roommates for almost three years before Thompson moved out after his wedding in March of 2012. Soon after, Williams became the godfather of Thompson’s two children, King and Aria-Elyse, even though Thompson joked that he doesn’t trust Williams to change diapers, just yet.

They’re friends, close friends, but a friendly competition has fueled them through the past five years.

“We've got a healthy competition between the two,” Thompson said. “It's helped us out a lot through the years, just through workouts, who can get the most pancakes, who can give up the least pressure. All those kind of things. It's definitely good for the two of us.”

It’s Williams who can eat the most wings though, according to Thompson.

Both are likely headed to the NFL after this season, hopefully for long careers – maybe they’ll be lucky enough to wind up on the same team. Williams and Thompson are considered two of the top tackles in the upcoming NFL Draft and some even have them both going in the first round.

Their friendship will endure.

“It’s not fake. It’s real,” Williams said. “After this, I know I’m still going to talk to Tyrus where our roads go or our roads separate. I ‘m going to do whatever I can to help his family, and I know he’s going to do whatever he can to help.”


Sooners Illustrated Top Stories