Former UTSA running back Williams ready for challenge of first NFL camp

SAN ANTONIO – No one could have faulted former UTSA running back Jarveon Williams had he slept in Saturday.

After all, his time for relaxation will be severely curtailed after he reports to the Cincinnati Bengals’ training camp on Tuesday.  

But there Williams was at Universal City Park early Saturday, conducting his second annual 2Ten Development Camp for about 30 elementary-age kids.

“This is my life,” Williams said as he watched the campers play 7-on-7 games. “This is what I do and I’m happy to do it. This is fun. I love the kids. I love giving back and giving kids an opportunity to do what they love. This is all for them.”

A 2013 Judson High School graduate, Williams had some help from his friends, including Los Angeles Rams running back Aaron Green and former UTSA teammates Jalen Rhodes and Josh Stewart.

Rhodes, who shared playing time with Williams as a junior last season, has come to expect such generosity from his friend.

“He’s honestly just a great guy and very selfless,” Rhodes said. “He’s always looking out for other people. After what he’s done today, you see what type of man he is.”

An undrafted free agent, Williams signed with the Bengals in mid-May after completing his four-year college career as UTSA’s all-time leading rusher with 2,393 yards. He scored a total of 20 touchdowns, and finished his senior season with 900 yards and eight TDs.

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Williams became the Roadrunners’ first 1,000-yard rusher as a junior, running for 1,042 yards and averaging 6.0 yards per carry. He also tied a school record with eight TDs in 2015.

Williams participated in organized team activities and minicamp after signing with the Bengals, who have their training camp at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

“It was pretty exciting,” Williams said. “It’s your job now, so you look at it a little differently. But it’s still football. There’s a little bit of a learning curve, obviously, for the rookies when you get up there. It’s a good experience. I’ve had a good time learning from the vets and trying to establish myself in the NFL. It’s been positive for me.”

A 2011 Madison graduate, Green reports to his second training camp with the Rams on Friday. A TCU alum, Green made Los Angeles’ practice squad as an undrafted rookie last year. He was on the Rams’ 45-man roster for the last two games of the season.

“It’s been a blessing to have Aaron as a mentor,” Williams said. “I’m thankful to him. He went through this last year. He just says to stay humble, and try to be professional in everything you do. It’s all about the work ethic and how much work you put in. I like to credit myself on how hard I work.”

Green started his college career at Nebraska before transferring to TCU after his freshman season. He played three seasons with the Horned Frogs, capping his career with a stellar performance in TCU’s 47-41 scintillating triple-overtime victory against Oregon in the 2016 Valero Bowl.

Playing in the NFL “is definitely a job,” Green said, “but at the end of the day it’s still football, something you’ve been doing your whole life. Before he (Williams) went out there to Cincy, I told him to just to go compete, have fun and let the chips fall where they may.

“Really, just control what you can control. Everybody knows Jarveon is an extremely good player. You’ve just got to have that confidence and go out and play, let it happen.”

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In a twist of fate, Green and Steele graduate Malcolm Brown, who played at Texas, both made the Rams’ practice squad as rookies last year. Green and Brown, who also went undrafted in 2016, were high school seniors in the same year.

“It’s crazy the way things work out,” Green said. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought Malcolm and I would be playing on the same NFL team. It was an awesome first-year experience playing in L.A. It’s a lot different than San Antonio. It took a little getting used to, but I love it out there.”

Green recalled what it was like to survive his first training camp.

“When you first get there, you don’t know what to expect,” he said. “Everything is new. It’s like being a freshman in college all over again. I still remember my first freshman practice and I still remember my first NFL practice.

“The speed of the NFL game is so much faster than you’re used to. It just seems like a different world, but then it slows down and you start to get used to it. It just becomes football again.”

Williams helped lead UTSA to its first bowl game last season, the Roadrunners’ first under head coach Frank Wilson.

UTSA returns 44 lettermen, including 15 starters, from a team that finished 6-7 overall and 5-3 in conference play. New Mexico beat the Roadrunners 26-23 in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.

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UTSA has been picked to finish second to Louisiana Tech in Conference USA’s West Division this season in a preseason poll conducted by a panel of media members who cover the league.

“They have pretty big expectations this year and I don’t expect anything less of them,” Williams said. “They’re well coached and have a lot of guys returning. I think they’re going to have a pretty good year. I can’t wait to see them.

“The program is on the way up right now. They are headed in the right direction. Coach Wilson is a tremendous leader, a tremendous coach and a great guy. I was thankful and blessed to be able to learn from him and soak in all the knowledge he gave me.”

Williams graduated in May with a degree in communications.

“UTSA is doing it right,” he said. “That program is really about the kids and helping them grow, not just trying to get them to the next level in football, but putting their education first and trying to get them degrees so they can be better off in life. So, a tremendous shout-out to UTSA for helping me and everybody else.”

Williams’ younger brother, Julon, has been Judson’s starting quarterback since midway through his freshman season in 2014. Now a senior, Julon is being heavily recruited and already has close to 15 scholarship offers from FBS schools.

Texas Football magazine picked Judson and Steele to win the Class 6A Division I and Division II state championships, respectively, this season.

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“This area is thriving,” Jarveon Williams said. “That speaks to how much this area has grown. That’s why I have this camp. I see these kids growing up, and I remember that we didn’t really have things like this when I was coming up. I’m proud of the kids at Judson and Steele. I hope they hold it down for San Antonio as they go into the season this year.”

Julon was at Saturday’s camp and got in on the 7-on-7 action, throwing a few passes to excited kids who threw their hands up in the air to signal they were open.

“The summer’s been pretty good,” Julon said. “Just working out and staying in shape.”

Julon said Jarveon has set a good example for him on and off the field.

“I’m really proud of him,” Julon said. “He’s a hard-working person. He likes to give back to the community. It’s better to give than to receive.”

Jarveon expressed similar thoughts about his brother.

“That’s my guy,” Williams said. “I’m very proud and happy for him. He’s going through the recruiting process and handling things well. He keeps in contact with me and tries to pick my brain. I give him advice when I can. I’m just proud of everything he’s accomplished so far. I tell him he’s not finished. He’s just getting started.”

© 2017 KENS-TV


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