DONALDSONVILLE — Any day a high school football player gets the chance to sign a scholarship is special. But when you do it exactly 30 years after your father signed with LSU, things move to another level. Literally.
No, Ascension Catholic running back Jai Williams didn’t sign with the Tigers. The son of former LSU running back Germaine Williams signed with another south Louisiana team coming off a terrific year, Nicholls State.
The fact that ACHS lineman Nick Hilliard signed with Princeton during a ceremony held at the school on Wednesday made the event that much sweeter.
“We are so proud of Jai and his accomplishments," Germaine Williams said. "The AC family took care of him like their own. We are looking forward to following his career at Nicholls. That program is rising."
Williams and Hilliard were at the heart of a Bulldogs offense that was among the most prolific in Class 1A for four years.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Williams, who rushed for 1,410 yards as a senior, finished his career with 7,378 rushing yards and school-record 106 touchdowns. The TD total eclipsed a record set by his father. He was The Advocate’s All-Metro MVP Class 3A and below.
Hilliard (6-2, 305) is projected as an offensive guard at Princeton. Like Williams, he was a four-year starter. Both also played on defense, helping ACHS finish as the Division IV select runner-up in 2017 and 2018 and win more than 40 games over the past four years. Hilliard also earned Class 1A all-state and All-Metro honors.
“I choose Nicholls State because it felt like home, just like it does at Ascension Catholic," Williams said of the Colonels, who have made three straight FCS playoff appearances. "My family can come and watch me play.
“Nicholls is a great program. I can’t thank my coaches, teachers, administrators, family and teammates enough … they all pushed me to be great.”
Though Princeton is located in New Jersey, Hilliard said he found similarities to ACHS.
“I fell in love with Princeton … family atmosphere just like here at AC,” Hilliard said. “I can continue my academic success, be challenged and get to play the game that I love.
"I want to thank my coaches, teachers, administrators, teammates and especially my family. This school has been everything to me, allowed me to be a leader and have fun.”
Hilliard’s mother echoed his sentiments.
“Nick had a great time at AC," Shari Hilliard said. "We can’t wait to see what he does at Princeton. We are already booking flights. The visit was great and we felt like we were at Ascension Catholic, just like home."