Williams a possible NFL draft selection

Joe Harrington

A frequent statement thrown around in nearly every amateur form of football, and even here at Kent State, is that “tradition never graduates.”

Well that may be true, but players like Jack Williams not only graduate, they move on to bigger and better things.

This weekend, one of the fastest players ever to play for the Flashes will likely be one of 252 individuals selected at the NFL draft in New York.


When: 3 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. on Sunday

Where: ESPN

Kent State players to watch: defensive back Jack Williams (projected 3-4 round) and defensive tackle Colin Ferrell (late round pick to undrafted free agent).

Williams, a 5-foot-9-inch defensive back, started nearly every game for the Flashes over the last three seasons, and in doing so, built a reputation as a quick, aggressive defender who teams avoided in passing situations.

Williams ran a disappointing 4.43 40-yard dash at the NFL combine in February, but showed his trademark speed just a few weeks later at the Kent State pro-day, running a 4.32.

If the physical attributes aren’t enough, Williams provided enough on-field plays to impress scouts. Against one of the better offenses in the Mid-American Conference, Central Michigan, Williams recorded a career-high 19 tackles, while playing through a shoulder surgery that bothered him all season. Williams finished with 93 tackles and three interceptions in 2007.

The Virginia native also returned punts and kicks during his career, including a 57-yard run back in Kent State’s 23-14 upset victory over Iowa State last season.

Dean Pees, Patriots’ defensive coordinator and former Kent State head coach, has worked out Williams, and so has Mike Smith, Atlanta Falcons’ head coach. Last year, Williams’ friend and former teammate Usama Young was drafted in the third round by the New Orleans Saints, something that Kent State coach Doug Martin said benefits the program and will grab his attention.

“It definitely helps the program, when you see kids come out of Kent State,” Martin said of Williams and Young. “I’ll certainly be watching.”

Contact assistant sports editor Joe Harrington at [email protected].