Williams ready to shock everyone

When he came to the University of Washington, Corey Williams was part of the heralded receiver class of 2003. Seven wideouts were signed by the Huskies and they were expected to contribute early and often during their careers. Williams was widely considered the best of the bunch and with a solid freshman season many thought he would be destined for All-Pac 10 status.

But things got derailed when he broke his wrist on the wall at Notre Dame Stadium in early 2004 and he's working to realize the promise he showed so early in his Husky career.

"After the catch in the Apple Cup, against Wazzu, everyone just assumed I would be the best, but it didn't work out that way," Williams said. "I knew I had the chance to be the best, but when I broke my wrist, it just all kind of crashed down. I mean, I don't think I was depressed or anything, but I was pretty mad that I couldn't play the rest of the year.

"I missed being out there with the guys and watching them struggle to succeed really was hard, but that's all in the past for us. We're looking ahead and I think we're all headed in the right direction."

After only making five grabs for 57 yards and two touchdowns as a true freshman, Williams started his sophomore season on a brisk pace, catching 10 passes for 128 yards in the first three games of that fateful season, and when he went down the offense struggled becoming one of the worst in Washington history.

"It hurt not to be out there with (the team) and watching them struggle, but it's something that happened and we all had to move on," Williams said. "Then last year, I don't think I lost confidence, but I didn't make plays and I wasn't getting the plays called for me. Obviously there was something that I wasn't doing last year that I needed to be doing so I think I've done that this year."

And what was he not doing?

"To be honest I really don't know," Williams admits. "I thought I put in the time and effort, but then I look at what I did this past summer and it wasn't enough because I feel so much better right now. I'm 197 right now and I'm a lot stronger and more explosive and I feel really good right now.

"When I came back last year I was like 189 pounds and I just didn't feel very strong. Now I've just gotten that explosion back and I know the system. That is probably the biggest thing."

Over and over during camp, players and coaches alike have mentioned being in the system for two years in row has made a huge difference to them. Williams is no different.

"I think everybody is more comfortable and we're all on the same page," Williams said. "Isaiah just seems to have much more of a grasp of things this year and you can see how confident he is right now and it's really hard to communicate how much better it is to be in a system for two years straight, but it's going to show itself when we get out on the field this year."

Wide receivers coach Eric Yarber echoed those sentiments.

"They all have a lot of confidence," Yarber said after a recent workout. "I think a lot of that confidence comes from having the same coordinator, the same receivers coach, the same technique and the same system. A lot of them have that swagger about them right now.

"If you ask each of them ‘who is the best receiver?' you're going to get seven different answers that they are the go-to guy. Competition is one of the best motivators, either rise to the top or fold under the pressure and none of them have done that yet so we're doing ok right now with that."

Besides Marcel Reece who goes 6-3 and weighs about 250 pounds, Williams is the biggest receiver on the Husky squad. He feels he has the talent to play pro football. He just needs to show it to everyone now.

"The mindset I have is that I'm good enough to play receiver at the next level so I have to go out and prove it," Williams said. "I can only do that by doing the hard work and taking it all the way I need to and I tried to do that all summer."

During the summer, Williams could be seen on a daily basis running routes with quarterbacks Isaiah Stanback and Johnny Durocher during the summer and in the weight room with trainer Trent Greener who raved about Williams to one of the local papers before camp started.

"Me and Isaiah have a great relationship already and the same with me and Johnny," Williams said. "It's just, you go out there and make the catches and it helps your confidence and it helps their confidence in you. I think Isaiah feels comfortable with me – more now than he probably did last year."

"Corey had a great offseason," Yarber added. "He worked his butt off out on the track and in the weight room and during agility drills and it's paying off right now. He's playing with a lot of confidence and he thinks of himself as the go-to guy and that's good because receivers have to think of themselves that way."

Competition among the wideouts is at an all-time high and Williams said that just adds fuel to fire when each individual gets their turn.

"All that does is fuel me to do something great when I get my turn," Williams said with raised eyebrows. "It's great competition to have so much depth. It just makes you better.

"When someone makes a great play and you see it in the film study you say to yourself ‘alright I'd better step it up when I get out there again'. So it's great competition between all of us and it's only making us better in my opinion."

If Williams continues to be the confident player that he's shown thus far in camp, there is no telling where he and the rest of the offense can go.

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