February 5, 2009
CRAWFORD -- East Oktibbeha High School''s Jimmie Williams Jr. didn''t worry when he received a phone call from East Mississippi Community College informing him the school wasn''t protecting him.
Even though it was only a month or so before National Signing Day, Williams Jr. had enough confidence in what he has accomplished on the football to know he would get an opportunity to continue his football career in college.
Williams Jr. didn''t have to wait long to find another suitor.
One week after EMCC called, Itawamba C.C. contacted Williams Jr. to let him know they were interested in having him join their football program.
Williams Jr. made the union official Wednesday, signing a national letter of intent to play football for coach Jeff Terrill''s Indians.
"When I heard Scooba (EMCC) was was releasing me I was kind of happy because I didn''t really want to go to Scooba," Williams said. "When I saw (ICC''s) campus, I liked it, and I thought this would be a good place to go."
ICC went 3-6 this season and finished third in the North Division of the MACJC. The Indians have qualified for the postseason four of the past five seasons.
Williams Jr., a 6-foot-2, 294-pounder, will bring a lot of God-given ability to the Fulton campus. He played offensive tackle, nose guard, defensive end and defensive tackle last season for the Titans. His size, strength, and quickness makes him believe he has a strong chance at earning a starting spot in 2009.
"If you ask me, most of the people in college are not better than me," Williams Jr. said. "Small schools have big hearts. I know I have a big heart."
East Oktibbeha coach Anthony King knows Williams Jr. can back up his words. He said Williams Jr. is versatile enough that he won''t have a problem moving from nose guard in high school outside to defensive end in college.
"Jimmie was one of the leaders on the team," King said. "Whenever we needed a stop, he has always stepped up. I think he will do well at the next level because the numbers speak for themselves."
King said Williams Jr.''s strength (he bench presses 300 pounds and squats close to 500) will help make him the transition to college football.
King also said Williams Jr. has an advantage because his father, Jimmie Sr., is a positive role model who has helped build his son''s confidence and has coached him at the youth levels.
Williams Jr. can''t wait to make the move to end. He said he played defensive tackle and nose guard because the team needed him to and that he didn''t like playing the position.
Williams Jr. could have an opportunity to take out that frustration on quarterbacks later this year.
"I love playing defensive end because I have speed, size, I love to hit, and I have balance," Williams Jr. said.
The biggest challenge Williams Jr. faces is earning a spot in the starting lineup. Even that prospect doesn''t faze him because he believes he compares well to any other junior college player.
"In my mind, I am the best and I just love being the best," said Williams Jr., who is interested in becoming an architect. "I am confident in everything I do."
Williams Jr. said his father pushed him in everything he did and always told him he could do anything he wanted to do. He also received guidance and motivation from his pastor, who repeatedly told him "he sees something in me" and that he "thanks God you are here."
Williams Jr. plans to do everything he can to show opponents just what is inside of him.
King believes Williams Jr.''s confidence and ability can take him a long way.
"He can have success at ICC and move on to the next level," King said. "He is the type of kid who with his God-given ability he needs to play on Sunday one day. I think the sky is the limit for him.
"He already believes he has the dream and that goal. I am glad he has it. I am trying to get it into more guys we have coming up."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.