CHICAGO — Antwione Williams spent five years in the Sun Belt Conference with Georgia Southern, and now, the Eagles leading tackle from last season is testing his luck at this week’s NFL Draft in the Windy City.
Underrated coming out of high school, Williams failed to yield attention from either ESPN or Rivals during the initial recruiting phase. He would go on to start six games over his first two seasons with the Eagles, however, his junior and aforementioned senior seasons would be breakout years on the field — Williams would finish second on the team in tackles his junior year with 65, and first the following season with 107. For his efforts, Williams received honorable mention All-Sun Belt Conference honors both years.
The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Williams ran a 4.77 and 4.82 40-yard dash during his pro day, and has seen his style compared to that of Chiefs four-time Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Johnson — fittingly, Williams has spent time this offseason training with Johnson and his brother.
Williams told Pro Player Insiders during an exclusive interview on Wednesday that the information he’s received from Johnson this offseason is invaluable. Everything from his diet, how he treats his body, how he studies in the film room and other tricks of the trade were the topics of discussion and mentorship for the 22-year-old.
“I loved watching Patrick Willis play,” Williams said. “He was a skillful player that mades plays and someone that’s exciting to watch. I hope that I can play at that level and do a lot of the things that he did.”
Below, find a full transcript of the conversation between Pro Player Insiders and Antwione:
What was it like growing in Georgia and playing football or did you play any other sports?
- Growing up in Atlanta was cool, playing sports is always a big thing for me. I have an older sister who ran track. Track was always cool in the off season, and my brother ran track too in high school. There was a lot of things that we did to keep us going throughout the year with sports. Its an honor to play sports at a specific level and hopefully depending on Sunday I can play at a high level.
When did you start to focus on football and say this is the career path I will go for?
- It kind of just happened. I played football in high school and I was pretty good at and kept it going. That’s how I got my scholarship offers and that solidified a lot of things for me. It gave me a chance to go to school. I just made sure every day I took what I did seriously. It made my craft important to me and it got to me to this point.
What is some advice that you got along the way that put you in this positon as we move toward the draft?
- The most important thing that was said by my last year’s coach, coach Frank. He told us its important to go out there and play hard, regardless of whats happening and do everything you’re supposed to be doing. Not only are you going to be watched by coaches, but teams come in all the time. Teams tell me ”People are always talking about I’ll work hard,” but your film shows what you do and they don’t have what they say they do on film. I feel like I play hard and show effort and made a lot of plays.
You were working in the offseason with Derrick Johnson of the chiefs. How did that help you and give you any guidance on what to expect at the next level?
- You get an unique perspective, especially from someone who’s been in the league that long. The people that I know only been in the NFL for 1-3 years, these people come and go and you get a different perspective on what you have to do to stay along for a long time. How you have to treat your body, how you have to study in the classroom and things that you pickup. he showed me some tricks of the trade that he’s picked up over this career. Hopefully I’ll still be able to workout and work with him after our seasons are over. That’s valuable to me.
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