Former BU football standout bides his time while NFL season’s in limbo
PARIS, Texas (KWTX) - A Baylor football captain who signed with the Atlanta Falcons as an unrestricted free agent following the 2020 draft is back in his hometown staying positive and making sure he's ready for whatever comes as COVID-19 leaves the NFL season in limbo.
Jordan Williams, 23, was a star linebacker at Baylor from 2015 to 2020 coming in as a redshirt freshman, but before he was in Waco he was an All-State athlete at Paris High School in Northeast Texas which is where’s he’s staying for now.
"I'm just ready to get down there and show what I can do," Williams said.
We caught up with the 6-foot-1, 220-pound athlete in the weight room of his alma mater, a place he comes to every day, often before the sun comes up and sometimes more than once a day, to make sure he stays ready while waiting to see how the season plays out.
"I'm running and trying to stay in the best shape I can possibly be and do a lot of the little things you don't get to pay attention to during football season," Williams said.
It's been a strange time for the young athlete who dreamed his entire life of playing in the NFL, but never envisioned it play out in the midst of a worldwide pandemic.
“Absolutely not. It’s been weird but it’s been weird for all the rookies, too. It’s something we can bond over. I talked to someone today that gave some great advice. It was ‘there’s not many people that can say they were in this position,’ so I’ve got to embrace it.”
Williams is also embracing the fact he's now a role model in Paris, inspiring young athletes from his small town to dream big.
While home, he's inculcating local players with his work ethic and knowledge of the game.
Many mornings, the former Baylor star works out with the high school athletes in Paris in hopes of making a positive impact on their lives.
"I feel like you need a good role model, you need somebody to be able to look up to," Williams said. "I don't want to say I am that but you know I want to be a positive influence in someone's life and pay it forward and give some support where I got it. "
While the situation is not ideal, Williams is used to tackling tough situations. He led the turnaround at Baylor from a 1-11 season in 2017 following the 2016 season in which head coach Art Briles was fired, to playing in the Big 12 Championship Game and securing a spot in the Sugar Bowl against Georgia under coach Matt Rhule.
Williams finished his Baylor degree in just 3 1/2 years, achieving what he says was the biggest goal of his life.
"I always dreamed of being a first generation college grad," he said.
The NFL has announced training camps will begin at team facilities in late July which is when Williams plans to report to Atlanta.
But until then, he'll be hitting the weight room and the track in the town of 25,000.
"We don't know what could happen, what's going to happen, where the future is going to go," he said.
“But I’ll be out here each and every day just controlling what I can control and getting better every day. That’s all you can do.”
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