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Post A tip of the cap to Des Williams

Wednesday November 22, 2006

Today’s Banner-Herald reports that fullback Des Williams will be among those honored in Saturday’s Senior Day festivities. Though technically a junior in terms of eligibility, Williams is in his fourth season and expects to graduate in May. Injuries have sidetracked and ultimately ended his Georgia career. Most who come to play for a major program like Georgia’s bring dreams of getting their shot in the NFL. Some get to live the dream. Some screw it up through their actions. Many more just have ordinary careers and move on. Some work hard, get good grades, stay out of trouble, do everything else right, and have the rigors of college football tell their bodies that it’s time to stop.

Des arrived at Georgia as a highly-rated middle linebacker (four stars if that’s your thing). I had been really impressed by his ability to cover the field laterally in high school. He was moved to fullback in his freshman season (2003) but was mostly a special teams player. The Dawgs had an established fullback starter in Jeremy Thomas, but depth was an issue. With a seemingly solid depth chart at linebacker, Des’s prospects for contributing were much brighter, at least as an underclassman, at fullback. He saw much more time as a sophomore in 2004 – even starting a few games – and left spring practice in 2005 as the starter who would replace Thomas.

But then the injuries changed things. A torn pectoral caused him to miss the entire 2005 season. Earlier this season, a shoulder injury ended his 2006 season. With his NFL dreams cut short and Brannan Southerland now in firm control of the fullback position, Williams has decided to graduate and hang it up. "Everybody, when they come to play college ball, they have aspirations to go the league. After being hurt my first time, and tearing my pectoral muscle, I counted myself out in that aspect. I fought to come back and got hurt again. I didn’t want to go through the rigors of going through the rehab again."

You can’t blame him. Football is incredibly demanding, and Williams has paid the price with his body. You hate it because you feel his chance never really came, but this isn’t necessarily a sad ending. Williams has been a part of some memorable Georgia teams, and he will start life after college with a degree from the University.

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