Walker Williams played in the Semper-Fidelis All-American Bowl and was a three-time all-state offensive lineman, tabbed all-state by AP on both offensive and defensive lines as a senior and earned all-league honors on both the offensive and defensive line as a senior and junior. When it came time for him to start looking at schools, Williams reached out to a school that was known for developing top-notch linemen.
Williams made three visits before officially committing to Wisconsin (two of which he paid for out of his pocket) and fell in love with what the Badgers' program had to offer.
In the return of our popular series for subscribers, Badger Nation does a meet and greet with the newer members of the Wisconsin football team, shedding a light on some of the unknown kids that figure to be important parts of the Badgers' future.
Asking 15 questions, we call this segment the Freshman Fifteen.
What's been the hardest part for you adjusting to college life?
Williams: I think the biggest thing was making sure that you just get stuff done when you are supposed to get it done. In the summer, we had a little bit of free time and in high school, we thought free time was free time and we didn't have to do anything. It's about getting stuff done so you can do what you want to do instead of panicking at the end.
What's been the hardest part adjusting to college football?
Williams: As you can think, there is a difference between Washington second division football and the Big Ten/Wisconsin football. The biggest thing is probably the attention to detail and the speed of the game. If you put a lot of effort and know where you need to go, you can pretty much get everything done you needed to get done in high school. At Wisconsin, specific steps are crucial. If you mess up an angle on your step, that could be the difference between cutting a guy off or giving up a two-yard loss on the play. Everything is faster.
Since you arrived here, how have you changed your body to prepare for the college game?
Williams: I have been fluctuating my weight a little bit. The first week I got here in June I loss eight or nine pounds, just from the workouts and walking to class. After lifting for a little while, I am around 315 pounds. I am getting more muscle and getting stronger. I can definitely feel myself getting stronger off the weight lifting program. I am lifting three times a week now. We were lifting five times a day during the summer. I feel myself getting in way better shape, especially after the summer doing the workouts in 100-degree heat with a couple of weight vests on.
What do you think your strengths are right now where you can help this team and what your biggest areas of weaknesses?
Williams: I think I need to improve on getting stronger, because I didn't lift as many weights in high school. I started lifting right before my senior year, but before that I didn't do as much in terms of weight lifting. I really have a lot of catching up to do, especially with a lot of the offensive linemen putting up ridiculous numbers. The thing I have probably improved on the most is just studying the game more and knowing the whole picture of things instead of my little pod of what's going on in the game.
How is Madison different than your home town of Tacoma, Washington? What's the biggest difference?
Williams: I would say it's a little more lively than Tacoma. Madison is definitely a college town, even though you have the University of Washington-Tacoma. That's kind of like UW-La Crosse. It's not a huge deal there unlike here where everywhere you go it's Wisconsin, Wisconsin, Wisconsin. A lot of people around here just know you for some reason and when you walk down the street, people know that you are a football player. The whole college town aspect is different and I really like that component.
Do you have any idea what you want to study in college?
Williams: I am still considering nuclear engineering. I am taking a math course this semester and I am also thinking about going in to business, either human resources or business management. Both are pretty hard to get into, but I am doing pretty well so far.
What's your favorite place on the Madison campus?
Williams: I haven't had too much time to explore. I wouldn't pin it down to any one place. I have a good time down at Memorial Union, hanging out on State Street and at the capitol.
What's your least favorite place on campus?
Williams: Honestly, I haven't found one yet … not one that I can say.
What do you enjoy doing most in your free time when you get the chance to kick back and relax?
Williams: Laying in bed and doing nothing. I know it sounds really lazy, but I do like to hanging out with the freshman guys I met over the summer. I met some guys from the basketball and hockey team that are fun to hang out with, but the greatest feeling is just laying down.
Who do you live with during the summer and who are you going to live with this fall? How are those relationships?
Williams: I lived with Jake Meador and Bart Houston in the summer and Vonte Jackson in the fall. We transitioned really well. Me and Jake already knew how to cook and we had to cook for ourselves. Bart knew how to cook relatively well, so it was pretty vanilla. The one thing we had a problem with was who was going to do the dishes. That was always the point of argument.
What's the most interesting thing you've learn about Jake and Bart?
Williams: I learned that Bart Houston, who was 6-3, 200 pounds, and Jake Meador, who was 6-7 like 345 pounds, could both fit on a Japanese scooter with a basket on the back and go down State Street … where you aren't supposed to drive a scooter anyway.
Where does your biggest support come from? Family? Friends? Teammates?
Williams: Probably comes from my family. I have a couple friends back home who have supported me really well. My mom, my dad and my brother have all been really encouraging, especially through camp. It was the closest think you could get, civilian wise, to be in the Marines and boot camp. It's really straining, but I think they really helped out a lot being able to talk to them in my free time and have them send me care packages with pepperoni and salami.
What's your parents reaction to you playing college football here, being on your own for the first time and starting your journey at this school?
Williams: They were thrilled. My mom wanted me to go to Wisconsin and had a feeling that I would pick them. When I told her that Ohio State called an offered me a few weeks before signing day, you should have seen the look on her face. It was a, ‘How dare they!" look. I was firmly committed. My brother went nuts because he was a big fan of college football, followed Wisconsin a little bit and knew what they were about. My dad was proud of me as could be. He would have been either way, but there wasn't anything negative about Wisconsin.
What's the best part of being a Wisconsin football player and putting on that red and white jersey?
Williams: I seriously got chills thinking about. I think about this a lot. It's probably been the one thing I looked forward to the most over the summer and that's running out of the tunnel. I feel really honored to be a part of the group. When I get a break in practice, I sometimes sit back and think, ‘I am a member of the Wisconsin football team.' Not many people get this opportunity.
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