Walk this wayPublished 1:06am Wednesday, February 13, 2013
The midline option offense the Washington football team used this past season only works if it’s run by a quarterback that can make good football decisions. Judging by the Pam Pack’s 10-4 record and first trip to the third round of the playoffs since 1956, it’s safe to assume that Jimmy Williams made a lot of good choices.
As National Signing Day came and went the Washington senior was faced with another tough football decision as he had to pick between accepting preferred walk-on status at East Carolina University or potential scholarship offers from lower level programs.
“It’s a tough decision. I didn’t know if I wanted to go as a walk-on because it would be harder on my mom (Nadine) because she would have to pay for college,” Williams said. “If I had a full ride somewhere else she wouldn’t have to worry about anything. That was my biggest concern.”
To his mom’s liking, Williams picked the Pirates, and like he has done on so many Friday nights, he’s made up his mind and is going full speed ahead.
“I would have liked to have earned a scholarship but I’m pretty sure if I go there and do everything I’m supposed to do after this season I will be on scholarship,” Williams said. “I just want to play this season out and see how it goes.”
Nadine, a staunch Pirates fan, said she tried her best not to sway her son one way or the other.
“I wanted him to make his own choice,” Nadine said. “I wanted him to decide what he wanted to do.”
As a senior, Williams had his finest season with the Pack as the dual-threat QB rushed for a team-best 1,225 yards and 11 TDs, while completing 59 percent of his passes for 937 yards and 14 scores en route to being named the Washington Daily News Offensive Player of the Year.
While the elusive 6-1, 170-pounder can seemingly do it all of the football field, the Pirates recruited the Pack playmaker to play wide receiver, which is fine by Williams.
“I like it,” said Williams, who lined up as a wideout on several occasions this season. “I like running after the ball, I like blocking people and I like the contact.”
Washington football coach Sport Sawyer felt confident Williams will be able to adapt to his new position.
“He’s got natural feet and hips and he’s able to explode. That’s what made him a good quarterback in the midline.” Sawyer said. “As far as running routes, he’s able to cut pretty sharp and he’s got great athletic ability to jump up in the air and get the ball.
“I’m just glad to see Jimmy get an opportunity. Every time he touched the ball he made things happen for us.”
The Pirates are hoping they got a steal in Williams, whose stock never fully got to appreciate thanks to a concussion he sustained midway through his junior season, which is a critical year for recruits.
East Carolina coach Ruffin McNeill could not comment directly about Williams because he is not a signed player but said that the walk-on program at ECU is a vital part of the team’s success.
To illustrate his point, look no further than WR Justin Hardy. Like Williams, the West Craven alum did not receive a scholarship offer out of high school but stuck with the Pirates and had a breakout season in 2012 leading the team with 88 receptions for 1,105 yards and 11 TDs and was named to the all-Conference USA team.
“Wherever I’ve been we’ve had great walk-on participation,” McNeill said. “(Walk-ons) can come in and contribute. That helps quite a bit. We got guys here that we’re playing like Justin and are really good football players.”