Back Mike Williams Off and Running

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Mike Williams Off and Running

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Mike Williams transitions to the next-level with the momentum of making history and the motivation of moving forward.

On September 5th, 2015, Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams suffered a terrifying neck-fracture in the Tigers' first game of the season. He was taken off the field on a stretcher, his football future, among many other more serious concerns, potentially hanging in the balance. The injury occurred after Williams burst onto the national scene with 1,030 yards as a sophomore the year before. A remarkable athlete, he was suddenly limited to resting and rehabilitating, waiting and watching.

Misfortune, despite its best shot, proved to be just another opponent that Williams clearly defeated.

Sidelined as Clemson advanced to the College Football Playoff before losing a dramatic finale to Alabama in the national championship game, Williams, after working tirelessly towards normalcy, was ready to go. His perseverance had him ready to play once again. Williams returned better than ever. 

It didn't take long for Williams to prove that he was good to go. In the Tigers' opener, he torched Auburn for nine receptions for 174 yards. In Clemson's first ACC contest of the season, Williams scored his first touchdown since the injury; he would go on to catch ten more, including three against rival South Carolina. Williams torched NC State for 12 catches for 146 yards and a score and Pittsburgh for 15 grabs, 202 yards and another touchdown. Fittingly, however, he saved his best performance for last. 

Now highlight-reel replays, Williams snagged a key fourth quarter score and two critical catches of 26 and 24 yards on the Tigers' two late touchdown drives in the title bout rematch with the Crimson Tide. He also drew a pass interference call which setup Deshaun Watson's famed game-winning touchdown toss to Hunter Renfrow one play later. After watching Clemson fall in the championship game the year prior, Williams was instrumental in the Tigers' claiming their first crown since 1981.  

Away from football for an extended period of time, the end result, for Williams, was 98 receptions for 1,361 yards, one of the most-productive seasons in Clemson history. Adversity gave Williams the finger early in his career; Williams put a ring on it in return.    

The process took another step on April 27th, 2017, as the Los Angeles Chargers selected Williams seventh overall in the NFL Draft.

Drafted just before his teammate Watson, Williams heads west as the second-highest wide receiver taken, now joining six-time Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers. Williams will give the Bolts yet another offensive weapon. At 6'4'', 218 pounds, he fits the prototype of the modern-day physical playmaker. The upside, here, is considerable.   

Williams transitions to the next-level with the momentum of making history and the motivation of moving forward. After one of the low points of his life, Williams has come all of the way back and then some.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports