From the Florida heat in Lake City to the Mississippi country, Mike Williams found himself at one of the best junior colleges in the country. It was East Mississippi that allowed Williams to find himself as a person and control what he could at the moment, and what he could control he made the most out of it.
Williams had his days where he questioned his future but stayed on the right track, and continued to perfect his craft. This allowed him to lead his team in receiving yards and win a JUCO national championship. He obtained his associate’s degree, but Williams still did not know what the future held for him.
He returned back to his home in Lake City and on Jan. 4, Williams received a call from former Nebraska coach Scott Frost, who offered him a scholarship. At that moment he knew Nebraska-Lincoln was the school for him, though he had never visited the state and didn’t know where to locate it on the map. Williams arrived in Lincoln a week later and never looked back. Now, he’s trying his luck in the coaching ranks, as a graduate assistant for the Huskers.
As a player, Williams had 17 catches for 231 yards between the 2018 and 2019 seasons. For him, he said he often dreamed of playing Division I football as a kid. Although Williams did not watch Husker football growing up, when he visited Nebraska as a recruit, he said he could tell the city of Lincoln was special.
“From the academic All-Americans to the All-American football players and the history of the place, I knew it was the right fit for me,” Williams said.
Williams applies the same mindset he has for the game to his life outside of football. During his collegiate career, he said he controlled what he could control and made a play when he was given the opportunity.
In Williams’ first season with the Cornhuskers (2018), he played in 12 games with two starts and caught 12 passes for 122 yards. During his second season with the Cornhuskers, Williams played in 12 games and made one start, and finished the season with five receptions for 109 yards.
Like every Division I football player, Williams’ dream was to play in the NFL, and unfortunately, Williams’ dream did not go as planned. But with his determination and open-mindedness, he didn’t let that one letdown discourage him or alter his life. Williams became an X-ray assistant at a hospital in Lake City.
“I’ve always wanted to coach football after my playing days were over,” Williams said.
When Williams heard that Matt Rhule would be the next head coach of the Huskers, he looked for every possible way to get in touch with the new coach. He wanted to let Rhule know his story and explain his love and passion for the game of football.
Rhule said he was impressed with how determined Williams was about getting in contact with him.
“Good coaches are good recruiters and good recruiters are respectful yet persistent,” Rhule said.
Rhule said he believes graduate assistants are major contributors to help a team succeed during the season. He believes that if Williams works at his craft as hard as he did to get in touch with him Williams will be very successful in this line of work.
“He’s a former player at the university so hopefully he can connect and mentor the young players,” Rhule said.