Panther Profile: Manny Williams

With the conclusion of spring practice the Pantherdigest will be profiling the members of the class of 2008 that will land in Oakland this year. You will read several interesting stories about the future Panthers including Clairton athlete Manny Williams.

Future Pittsburgh Panther Manny Williams has advertised himself as "A Pittsburgh Guy."

"My family and everyone are from Pittsburgh. You grow up rooting for the Steelers," the safety from Clairton said. "[Playing for Pitt] is a chance to play for the hometown team."

Williams comes to Pitt as a player that likely will be redshirted after suffering a torn ACL late last season.

His torn knee has caused him to miss his final season as a high school baseball player, and there's even talk he may move from the secondary to a weak side linebacker.

"It doesn't bother me [what position I play]. I like winning," said Williams, who stands 6-1 and weighs 195 pounds.

There's also the matter of coming from a Class A WPIAL school, but historically the Bears have produced great defensive backs, such as ex-New York Jet Davlin Mullen and current Cleveland Browns cornerback Daven Holly.

In fact, Williams has gotten to know Holly in recent times.

"I met him after my junior year when we won the [WPIAL] championship at our banquet," Williams said. "He also came to some of our practices.

"He's a great guy. He told us ‘Don't let anyone tell you that you can't be what you want.' He's very inspirational."

Inspiration is a trait Clairton football coach Tom Nola says Williams also brought to the Bears.

"He was the emotion who ran the team. In school he's the same way, always happy-go-lucky.

"He's always energetic. That's what Pitt liked about him. He has so much fun with the game and always brought it with him."

Off the field, Williams likes to eat spaghetti with a bit of sugar and hot sauce mixed into the sauce.

And while his favorite movies all deal with football, he also took some time to read J.D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye" last year and enjoyed the way Holden Caulfield always changed his mind while choosing a life's path.

He is the fourth of sixth children, with three older brothers and two younger sisters, but ironically was the only one of the Williams family to play high school football.

His mother works as a mental health counselor and his father owns a construction company.

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