“I knew right away it was serious,” he said. “I never really got hurt before to cost me a whole season so I didn’t know what to think. It was hard to get my mind set around that. Then I talked to everyone and they gave me good feedback. The injury has a very, very high recovery rate so that encouraged me.”
The 5-10, 185-pounder was fresh off a strong junior campaign at Cal when the Bolts took him with the 145th overall selection. He notched career highs in tackles (80), tackles for loss (seven), passes defensed (13) and interceptions (three) on his way to winning team MVP honors and an honorable mention for the All-Pac 12 team.
Williams actually caught Tom Telesco’s eye when the Chargers general manager was scouting Andrew Luck in 2011 for the Indianapolis Colts. As a sophomore, Williams picked off Luck and returned it 45 yards for the score in a big rivalry game between Stanford and Cal. That play stuck out to Telesco and two years later he drafted the speed demon during his first Chargers draft.
While it would be easy to be discouraged having to miss an entire season as a rookie, Williams takes the opposite approach. He focuses on the positives and is determined to make the most out of the situation.
“I felt bad just because I wanted to help the team,” he said. “But the coaches and teammates kept my head up. They told me how it was a redshirt year, and I think it was a blessing in disguise. I got to get better and see the game. I watched more football than I ever did before. So I’ve got the knowledge now and that will help me get better.”
The experience has also given him a newfound appreciation for football, and he’s grateful for being healthy heading into 2014.
“I’m just excited to be back,” he said. “I’m excited to be out there with all the defensive backs and with the coaches. I want to keep absorbing all the knowledge I can. That’s the key. I just want to help the team any way I can. Seeing the team get to the playoffs was great. The next step is to go even further and hopefully I can help get there.”