BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – There’s no one set path to the NFL. Every player has their own story whether it’s being a number one overall draft pick, signing as an undrafted free agent or even something else. No two stories are the same.
For Antonio Williams, his path to the pros started very different from how it ended. Williams signed with the Bills as an undrafted free agent out of UNC, but he started his college career as a Buckeye.
“My journey has definitely been interesting you know two years at Ohio State and then two years at Carolina and I played so many different roles. I think what those roles allowed me to realize and understand about the game of football is that you’re gonna play a lot of different roles. As long as you put the team first, you know as long as you do what the team needs the most at that time. The spotlight of the team is much bigger than the spotlight of one individual,” Williams explained.
Williams was a 4-star running back out of high school and considered the seventh best in the country according to 247sports. But things didn’t work out at Ohio State only rushing for 318 yards and three touchdowns in his two seasons with the Buckeyes. So a fresh start was exactly what Williams looked for at UNC.
“I absolutely love Coach Brown that’s why I started smiling when you said his name. Such a great guy, great coach, so much energy coming out of him all the time,” Williams said.
Head coach Mack Brown has cited Williams’ leadership and play on special teams. Williams became UNC’s number three running back but that didn’t stop him from contributing or having a positive attitude.
“I got to the point over my fours years in college that I became such a team guy. I didn’t really care what my role was whether I was running the ball, whether I was playing special teams whatever it was, blocking for the quarterback anything you just really appreciate the fact that you’re on a team,” Williams said.
If that isn’t a Sean McDermott-Brandon Beane kind of guy, I don’t know who is. Character wise, he’ll fit right in with the Bills. And as far as a roster spot, after Devin Singletary and Zack Moss, things are up in the air on the depth chart.
“The guys are young and are great guys, everybody works hard, we communicate already so it feels like a really good room and I’m excited to be a part of it. Knowing that everybody has a good role in the room, you know I’m still trying to figure out what my role will be at the time but I’m just excited to be a part of it,” Williams said.
When it comes to his style of play, he’s not afraid to make contact.
“I’m definitely a downhill runner, I can obviously make people miss well if I’ve got to but I like to try and get my foot in the ground and get vertical as fast as possible. You know the fastest way to any point is a straight line, that’s how I think as far as running the ball. I’m a 218-220 pound running back so I’m a bigger guy and I’m a physical player, I like to get after it, I love the contact of the game and when I’m running the ball I try to do what I can with it,” Williams explained.
And he’s already feeling the love from Bills fans, as if you’d expect anything else.
“First I want to say to Bills Mafia I really, really appreciate the warm welcome that I got when the news came out that I was signing with the Bills. It just made me feel good so I really appreciate Bills Mafia and all the fans. I hear so many great things about Bills Mafia and now we have the best fans in the country so I’m really looking forward to getting into that environment,” Williams said.
“My story, what I want people to take away is that it doesn’t matter where you come from, it doesn’t matter how many bumps in the road you run into, just do what you can at all times and go as hard as you can. As long as you give it 100% usually things work out.”