The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The dual-threat

Photo by Photo By: Lawrence Smelser
Williams Feature

In 2011, senior cornerback Brandon Williams, a five star prospect out of high school, played running back for the University of Oklahoma. Today, however, Williams starts on defense at cornerback for head coach Kevin Sumlin and Texas A&M University.

“He’s got some real talent,” Sumlin said at a news conference earlier this year. “At 6-0, 205, he’s an average to slight build running back. At 6-0, 205 as a corner, he’s a big corner and a NFL prospect. He’s going to continue to work at his technique. He is physical, he is one of the fastest guys on the team. He’s got long arms, strength, and I think the sky’s the limit for him.” 

Williams departed Oklahoma for A&M because he wanted to be closer to his then-2-year-old daughter, Serenity, who was staying in his hometown of Brookshire, Texas.

“At the end of the day, if my baby girl wasn’t here, I probably wouldn’t — I wouldn’t say that I wouldn’t be in college, but I probably wouldn’t be in this situation I’m in right now,” Williams said. “She drives me, motivates me, to not only do good for myself, but to make sure her life was a better life than what I had growing up.” 

As per NCAA transfer rules, Williams was not eligible to compete in 2012. Williams took advantage of his time off, however, by working closely with A&M Director of Sports Performance Larry Jackson to win the Weight Room Off-Season MVP award in 2012.

Williams, nicknamed “Slim,” shared reps at running back in 2013 and 2014, amassing 269 and 379 rushing yards respectively. His A&M football career didn’t really gather steam, though, until it was redirected by coach Sumlin in a private office meeting between the two a week after the 2015 spring practice.

During the meeting, Sumlin discussed the prospect of Williams playing the cornerback position. There would be opportunity to earn immediate playing time considering former starter Deshazor Everett had graduated to the NFL and the passing defense, in general needed a facelift following a 2014 campaign that saw them ranked 80th in the country. Williams, who had not played defense since pee-wee football, embraced Sumlin’s proposition.

“I think what he is doing, is not only is he, he’s helping our football team at corner and, in my conversation to him, but I think he is also helping himself to showcase where he can play at the next level,” Sumlin said. “Because as he continues to improve, if he can improve his technique, I think he’s gone from a free agent, late-round guy, to a draft pick, playing corner, by size, speed and skill.”

The results support the move thus far. Williams spearheads a defensive back unit that now ranks 42nd in the country in passing yards allowed. Individually, Williams has recorded 15 total tackles and is tied with fellow cornerback De’Vante Harris with four pass breakups.

“I can honestly say that I am getting better every week,” Williams said. “I understand that it’s a long process and I’m embracing it because I’m the type of person that, I’m very hard on myself. And I criticize myself the most. If the play look bad, the play look bad. If it look good, it look good.”

Williams, a player’s choice for captain, has leaned on his teammates, including backup quarterback Conner McQueen, for any advice they can give him on adapting to his new position.

“I really think that exemplifies the selflessness throughout this team,” McQueen said. “That’s one of the main differences in the past couple of years is that we have a leader, one of our most athletic — probably the fastest guy on the team — moving from a running back position to an area of weakness in terms of a depth standpoint, over to defense. A lot of the young guys see such a senior member on our team and a captain on our team do that. They really think, ‘Wow, this guy is totally bought in.’”

Although a starting cornerback, Williams remains an emergency option at running back for A&M. In the Nevada game, Williams became the fist player since 1968 to play both offensive and defensive in a game.

Between football, academics, and now being a father of two children, Serenity, age 6, and Lila, age 2, Williams said he hardly has time to reflect on life after A&M. 

But if his devotion as a parent is of any indication, Williams said, no matter where his career takes him, his children will always take center stage.

“Nothing else matters, but making sure my baby girls are okay,” Williams said.

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