Defensive lineman marks 1st touchdown

Maria Baldwin, Staff Reporter

Red-shirt junior defensive lineman Jarvis Williams has played football since he was 8 years old, but he had never scored a touchdown. That all changed on Saturday against Tennessee Tech.

Williams intercepted the ball and ran for a 24-yard touchdown against Tennessee Tech, scoring the first touchdown of his football career.

“When I caught the ball, all I saw was green,” Williams said. “I saw people around me, but in my mind I knew that I was going to score a touchdown. That’s how I felt. When I got it in the end zone, I just looked around and thought, I really just scored a touchdown. It was like a dream come true. As a defensive lineman you usually don’t get a chance to intercept the ball and take it in all the way for a touchdown. It was a blessing.”

The only thing going through Williams’ mind was to catch the ball and run.

“Going through my mind I thought that it was a play that I could make, like I could actually get it in the end zone,” Williams said. “I told myself that I was not going to let anybody tackle me. My mind just told me that I was not getting tackled. As soon as I touched the ball I was off to the races. I knew I was going to outrun anybody that was near me so I just turned the burners on and got in the end zone.”

Overall, Williams just loves to play football.

“It’s just something I grew up on. My cousins, my brothers, and my family got me into football around age 8 and I’ve been loving it ever since then.”

Williams grew up in Greer, S.C., and lived the typical life of a child born in the country.

“It was the old country life. Hunting, fishing, dirt roads, lots of trees, and farmland,” Williams said.

Now, as a defensive lineman for Eastern, Williams leads by example. His strengths are in the trenches he and his linemen create to stop the opposing team’s offense.

“I’m versatile, I can play any position,” Williams said. “I’m smart in that I can adjust to different plays. I don’t really talk much on the field, but that is because I can lead by example.”

So far in his first season with Eastern, Williams has 24 total tackles. His season high nine tackles in a game came against Northwestern where he also had one sack.

In the off-season Williams said he would like to work on his flexibility.

“I’m some-what stiff,” Williams said. “If I get more flexible it would help with my speed, allow me to stand low on the defensive line and it would help prevent injuries. If I get more flexible it would really keep me healthy.”

Throughout the season, Williams would like to stay consistent on the field.

“Some plays I go in and get tired and I don’t play how I am supposed to. I just want to work on being more consistent on the field,” Williams said.

Williams applies his “lead by example” mentality to every practice and every game.

“I’ve learned that if I play well, everyone else will play well, and that I can count on everybody in the field,” Williams said. “If I do my job, I know everyone else will do their job, and I know that will bring success. I got to learn my job and play the system, and that will help the team win.”

There is no shortage of goals for Williams for the rest of the season. Williams said he would like to be all-conference, get five sacks and be in double digits for tackles-for-loss.

The defensive line has been Williams’ position for his entire career, and that has allowed him to perfect his play-making abilities to the field.

“Playing on the defensive line, everything is built around the trenches,” Williams said. ‘’If you can make an impact on the line, you can make an impact everywhere else on the field. If me and my boys play good, so will everyone else on the field.”

Panther football returns to action this Saturday in Murray, Ky., against Murray State at 1 p.m. as they attempt to extend their undefeated conference record.


Maria Baldwin can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]