by Greg Ford from parkcitiespeople.com:
At the University of Southern California, there is a passageway leading from the football locker room to the practice field. It's call the "All-American Walk," and it is so named because as the players walk through they pass pictures of all of the All-Americans who have played for the Trojans.
It is customary for a player to tap the picture of his favorite player. Kyle Williams, a redshirt this season, knows which picture to tap when he walks down the passageway.
"I tap Tony Boselli," Williams said.
Whether Williams, a 2002 graduate of Highland Park, will reach the heights of Boselli, or the other All-American lineman the Trojans have produced, remains to be seen.
At the moment, Williams' is still adjusting to college life, his team and the aura that surrounds USC football.
As a redshirt freshman, Williams does not play, but he does practice with the team as a right offensive tackle. At 6-foot-6, 294 pounds, Williams is already much bigger than he was as an HP senior in 2001, when he was one of the cornerstones of an offensive line that helped the Scots reach the Region II finals.
His extra bulk is the result of working out at USC, beginning about two months before practice began. It's a good thing, too, that Williams is bigger, because he is no longer facing off against high school opponents who were often much smaller that he is. Instead, he is tangling, at least in practice, with defensive lineman who just as big as he is, and who have had their skills honed against Div.-1A competition.
"It's a lot faster. It's college football," Williams said. "It's always going to be faster. I think I am prepared coming from Highland Park, especially with the speed and competition in Texas."
His playing days at HP, which often took place before large crowds, may have also helped him to prepare for the spectacle that is college football.
This season, Williams has been on the sideline for the Trojans' home games and traveled with the team to Colorado.
"It hits you for about the first five minutes," Williams said, "and after that you just cancel it out."
Having that kind of mentality will come in handy for Williams next season when he is n playing for the Trojans.
"My goal is to start and play," Williams said. "My goal right now is to get better and keep learning from the guys in front of me, and to keep working hard in the weight room."
As an offensive lineman, he may eventually be called upon to take up a starting position in a unit that has produced some of the greatest blockers in collegiate history.
Men like Ron Yary, Anthony Muñoz and Boselli are just a few of the names who have opened holes for the likes O.J. Simpson, Anthony Davis and Marcus Allen.
That was back in the heyday of USC football, when the Trojans were consistently competing for a national title. Over the last number of years, though, the Trojans have pretty much been also-rans in the Pacific-10 conference.
However, lately, the Trojans have shown improvement, and are in contention for a slot in the Rose Bowl, which this season will pit teams from the Pac-10 and the Big 10.
Their most recent win was a 44-33 defeat of the University of Oregon, one of the preseason favorites in the Pac-10. USC has also defeated Oregon State, California and Washington.
Over the next few years, the Trojans may once again find themselves with a shot at the national title, and it may be players like Williams who will help lead them there.
Should his performance warrant it, Williams may earn All-America honors and his picture will hang along the "All-American Walk."
It will then be up toany future Trojan walking the hallway to feel honored enough to touch it.