ABOVE: Darius Williams, sports management senior, long jumping his way to the indoor track national championship. (Sierra Meyer/Contributed photo).
There are some athletes who excel in one sport, enough so that they receive scholarships to play in college. Then, there are others who are talented enough to participate in two different sports.
Darius Williams, sports management senior, was recruited to Southwestern College to play football. The Cedar Hills, Texas, native committed, as long as he could still pursue his passion for track. Williams plays wide receiver for the Moundbuilders during the fall, and come springtime he is qualifying for nationals, long jumping for the track team. Williams needed to jump 7.01 yards to qualify this year, and he hit 7.23 yards on his last attempt.
In his sophomore season, Williams was closing in on the national mark with each attempt. However, he suffered a knee injury during spring football training and was forced to miss the upcoming track season.
“Hitting the qualifying mark is something I’ve been thinking about for almost two years now,” Williams said. “All I’ve been thinking about is being able to compete. I see all my friends going out every week to compete and I can’t go out there with them.”
Being on two different teams on campus has allowed Williams to interact with a variety of people. He takes time to go and talk to all his teammates and friends at lunch. Williams described himself as someone who doesn’t need the attention, but knows how to get it if he wants it.
“As you observe him around campus, whether it’s in the cafeteria or wherever, he is well liked,” Mike Kirkland, director of track and field, said. “He’s well respected, because he is so popular. He can walk up to any group of people and have a conversation and hang out with them.”
There was a process Williams had to go through to become the man he is today. From his freshman year to his senior year there has been growth and maturity.
“When he got here, it was your typical Dallas kid, and I don’t want to put everyone in the same box, but usually the Dallas type of kid is someone who is somewhat cocky, somewhat ornery, because they’re really good athletes,” Victor Redd, assistant football coach, explained. “So when Darius got here he was somewhat entitled, he worked hard, but thought things were going to be given to him.”
Redd has been a mentor to Williams during his four years, because they came to Southwestern at the same time. Redd explained that their relationship has taken patience and time, but that he considers Williams as a nephew.
On the football field, Williams wears the number seven, because of his favorite football player as a kid, Michael Vick. Although he doesn’t play quarterback, Williams is left handed and plays with track speed.
Williams’ athleticism shouldn’t come as a surprise, because the athlete he looked up to most growing up was his uncle, former NBA power forward, Kenyon Martin, who played in the association for 15 years and was the number one overall pick in the 2000 NBA draft to the New Jersey Nets.
“You know, with basketball, that’s the first sport I ever played,” Williams said. “I kind of wish I would’ve stuck with it through high school, but things happen.”
Williams does not only run on tracks, but he also creates them with his friends. They record instrumentals and rap over them, although they do not have a release date yet.
“Sometimes me and my friends will just sit around, chill, and do that,” Williams said. “I’m also into acting. I’ve done a couple of plays here with ‘Fools on the Hill.’ It’s about making people laugh and putting on a show.”
Williams will compete at the national championships in Pittsburg on March 1-3.
Tanner Carlson is a senior majoring in communication. You may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.