Last Thursday JUCO All-American linebacker Jacquian Williamsof Fort Scott Community College completed the Bulls 2009 signing class. Jacquian had plenty of interest and offers but in the end chose the Bulls over Oklahoma State, Nebraska, and Kansas State.
"I had to give the Bulls props. They've been talking to me the whole time. Back in high school coach Rich Rachel told me in two years I'm going to come get you, and they kept coming and coming and they got me."
Jaquian's LOI didn't come in until the next morning and explains the delay.
"I don't live in the dorms, and the letter of intent got mixed up somewhere. I didn't know where the papers were, and I had to go looking for it. I didn't get it until like 4:00, and then it was too late. I sent it at the last minute because I got it at the last minute."
What about the rumors of Nebraska trying to put the press on you to switch your commitment?
"They may have wanted me to, but they knew where I was going because I told them I'm going to South Florida, I'm going home."
How big of a factor was it for you to return home to Florida?
"It was big, I needed to be close. I have a lot of things going on and needed to be home. Everybody thinks I'm an underdog right now, so it's time for me to get on the map."
What coaches spoke to the most this time around?
"I spoke a lot with Coach Patrick. he's a real character, that's all I can say. Coach Leavitt too, he's been on me since 2006 at the camp also. I spoke with Coach Burnham and he has faith in me and know I can play so I respect that. I'm excited to learn from him and the thing I liked was he pulled me to side and told me to just make the smart decision for me and nobody else."
Are relived now that it's all over?
"I don't know if I'd call it a relief, but something I needed to do to get out of the way."
How do you feel about being named a JUCO All-American?
"It was something I worked very hard for and fell really good about that."
Williams was also named the KJCCC Defensive Players of the Week after recording 8 Solo Tackles, 3 Assisted, 1 for a loss, an int, plus 5 Solo Tackles on Special Teams and helping lead Ft. Scott to the 1st Shut-out of Coffeyville Community College since 1998.
"I played SAM this year and told them that game to put me at my position at weak side linebacker and I just took the game up. It was raining and was like a running game, and I felt good. I was running around doing everything and feel like that was one of my best games."
What positions did you play while at Fort Scott?
"I mostly played strong side because the regular SAM was no longer with the tea, and I was the best athlete, and did what I could for the team."
What positions are the Bulls talking to you about?
"I really don't know. I just know I'll be playing some kind of linebacker. They've been recruiting me since '06, so I know I'm going to be somewhere on that field."
What is your current height and weight?
"I'm 6'3, but don't like my current weight of 214 pounds. I was 225-230, but before the season I had surgery on my Labrum and haven't been able to lift weights. I played the whole season beat up, and we had to run a lot to stay in shape so the weight came off."
Will you have problems putting the weight back on?
"No, I just started lifting weights again and the USF coaches sent me the work-out program to my house and they're going to send it to me. I should get back to my weight in no time, and USF will get me right. I can't wait to put it back on because I miss it."
While at Riverview you ran a 4.4, but told me you ran a 4.7, what do you run the 40 in now?
"I haven't been timed since my freshmen season and ran a 4.5. I said a 4.7 but was kind of messing around. If I ran it now I have a lot of frustrations built up, so I'd probably run between a 4.4 and a 4.5."
Are you ready to take your frustrations out on the football field?
"I'm going to take it out on somebody. Somebody in a different jersey is going to feel me in a bad way."
What are your best assets as a football player?
"I think it's my speed and my athleticism, and I excel because I work very hard."
What do you want to work on?
"I want to work on working even harder. JUCO taught me a lot and made me, who I am now, but I want to be even more focused and I'm going to do it, and it's going to be something to see."
Did you have a lot of contact with Tyrone McKenzie your former teammate at Riverview?
"We talked and Tyrone told me you should already know everything after coming from a JUCO, and now you just have to do it. I'm going to do it, and he knows I'm going to be better than him."
T-Mac set a couple records while at USF do you use that as a measuring stick?
"No, I'm not going to do that. I'm happy for what he did, but I'm the next thing out there now."
Are you looking forward to being reunited with your teammate Jason Pierre-Paul?
"Oh yeah, he's my dog. We got close off the field, hung out and became good friends. We were getting similar offers so we talked about going to the same school."
I got to ask, can Jason really do a back flip while wearing pads?
"I never seen him do it, but I know he can flip. One day Jason and another linebacker Tim Brown had a contest. Jason did a flip, and Tim did two. I haven't seen him do it in pads, but have confidence he can do it."
Can you do a back flip?
"I was never into that, but it's in me. The other day a friend asked me if I can play basketball, and I never really played. I was athletic enough but it was always football. So he was showing me a few things and I got the ball, dribbled and dove through the air and dunked it. I was excited and amazed and thought if I could fly like that, than I can do anything."
Being from Riverview do you know anybody else on the team?
"I got a lot of friends going to USF, Leslie Stirrups, Jason and some other guys I played with are going to try and walk on. I've known Leslie since middle school and stayed right by each other."
How do you feel about all you guys and the class they signed?
"Were should be something else. We signed a great class, but so did a lot of teams, so we still got to do what we got to do."
Jaquian visited USF in December and was able to attend the Bulls year end football banquet that honored the seniors.
"I was proud of their seniors and they kind of motivated me the way the seniors walked across the stage. I pictured myself walking across that stage but saw myself acting the fool, just because of all the things I've been through."
You talked about having a lot on your plate, and didn't commit to late, what changed for you?
"One time last semester when I home just after my visit, I was getting down because of everything going on, and had a lot on my mind. And my son was crying because he would go up the stairs, but wouldn't go down. And one day I seen my son trying to go down, and he was falling and hitting his head, but he kept trying and going back and forth, and leaned how do. I figured if my son could overcome his fears than I can do whatever. He was a big motivation for me."
Do you feel that you have something to prove?
"It's been a long road, and a lot of people doubted me, and I even had doubts myself, but now I know I can do it. I'm very happy I went to fort Scott and it will make me stronger."
What do you want to accomplish once at USF?
"I want to leave it all out there and do the best that I can do with no regrets. Whatever happens happens and I want to graduate."
How much do you have left to finish your AA?
"I just need three credits. I'm taking an online math class and will be finished right before May."
When will you be moving back to Florida?
"They want me there now, but I'll probably be there in a month or so."
Are you excited now for the future?
‘Yeah I am. Now I'm going to prepare myself to get there. I'm working on my home skills and taking care of me. The big thing for me is working on being a father, a football player and a student at the same time."