The recruiting process pushed The Dunham School’s Mike Williams out of his comfort zone.
An emotional Williams stepped out of his shy persona one more time Wednesday after signing with Texas.
“This is a dream come true,” Williams told classmates, “(that) I hope every one of you gets the chance to experience.”
Much of the recruiting buzz around Williams revolved about which position he will play in college. At 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, he has build of a defensive lineman or a linebacker.
The Longhorns do plan to use Williams at linebacker, a role he relishes. But as his mother, Mary Williams, explains, there is more to her son’s story than just the recruiting process.
Football diehards may remember Williams as a coveted youth quarterback who played at Redemptorist the final year the school was open.
He moved to Dunham, where his play was always the outgoing part of his personality. He passed for 1,565 yards and 17 TDs and also ran for 849 yards and 13 TDs as a senior.
Another number Williams is linked may surprise some, and it was the reason why Mary Williams started to cry when he thanked her for “always having my back.”
“I was 14 years old when I had Mike,” Mary Williams said. “There were a lot of people who doubted the environment he was raised in. They didn’t think he could make it this far. But he has, and I’m so thankful. Signing a scholarship is such a huge accomplishment. The opportunities academically mean as much as the football part to me.”
Dunham football coach Neil Weiner has witnessed the metamorphosis of Williams as a player and person and believes he is ready for college football and life in general.
“When Mike first came here to school, he didn’t know a lot of people, and he pretty much kept to himself,” Weiner said. “Last year and then this year, that has changed. He’s not a big social guy. In fact, he would rather stay home and play video games. But now when you see him, he always has this big smile on his face.”
As he found his footing at Dunham, Williams’ work ethic soared. He asked for extra reps in the weight room and on the blocking sled, Weiner said.
Stepping out of that Dunham comfort zone for recent official visits to Tennessee and Texas was a test Williams realized he passed when he was in Austin.
Credit the Longhorns and coach Tom Herman for making it a little easier by assigning former Madison Prep player Malcolm Roach, a UT defensive lineman, as one of his hosts. Two years earlier, Williams was on the business end of bull rush by Roach, then a senior.
“I don’t usually talk to people I don’t know,” Williams said. “But as the weekend went on, it came naturally. I could see the team as a family. Malcolm talked about hard work and how it pays off and about taking me under his wing as his little brother. That appealed to me.”
Williams already sees Texas as his second home and can’t wait to move out his lifelong comfort zone in Baton Rouge. His father, Michael Trumble, is already making plans to get a Longhorns jersey with the No. 12, the one Williams hopes to wear.
“I’ve got so much support from everybody … my family and school,” Williams said. “I can’t wait to get started.”