Williams primed for return to tight end spot
|Thursday, January 11, 2018, 1:58 PM- -|
Garrett Williams was the best teammate he could be last season, running on the scout team and encouraging the other players to be the best they can be.
Finally healthy, Williams is ready to get back out on the field.
In his first two seasons as a Tiger, Williams appeared in all 30 of Clemson's games. He caught only two passes for 21 yards but was used primarily as a blocker, both as an in-line tight end and as a fullback in the backfield. Williams played 252 career snaps, more than any other tight ends on Clemson's current roster.
With the loss of Jordan Leggett after the 2016 season, Williams was battling with fellow tight end Milan Richard for a starting spot in spring practice when he tore his ACL, causing him to miss the entire 2017 season.
“We were about a week away from the spring game last year and it was the last period of practice. It was a live period,” Williams told TigerNet. “I had a slam fat route, and I caught the ball and turned up and had some space to run and started running. I saw Van (Smith) coming down to tackle me, so I tried to lower my shoulder and get as low as I could. Van just got underneath my shoulder and hit my knee. It felt like it was just hyperextended, so I got up and walked off. And then it felt like something wasn't right, and they checked it out and said it was probably torn.”
Williams underwent surgery a week later.
“It was obviously discouraging. I was looking forward to having a good year this year,” he said. “Jordan left and me and Milan were kind of battling it out, and I was hoping to have a good year with him. That really set me back, and then after surgery I was hoping I could get back maybe by game two or three but I just wasn't ready. It has been a humbling process for sure.”
Once Williams realized a return wasn’t feasible, he did everything in his power to make sure his teammates were ready for games. Now that the season is over and spring practice is just weeks away, he’s looking forward to getting back out on the field and competing for a spot.
“I have been trying to do my best running scout team and I am being the best encourager that I can be for our players,” Williams said. "But I am looking forward to moving on and starting something new and competing for the job and doing all of that other stuff and not just being an encourager. I've tried to fulfill my role as best I could this year.”
How does his knee feel? Just don’t ask him on rainy days.
"My knee feels very good. It's as close to 100 percent as it's going to get,” Williams said. “It doesn’t bother me when I am running and it doesn't bother me when I am cutting. It's kind of funny - if it rains it bothers me a little bit but I just have to keep it loose and keep it warm.”