It was the elder Williams who did some research and decided the Naval Academy would be an ideal place for his son to get a great education and play football. He called Niumatalolo to plant the seed and assistant coach Ashley Ingram made sure to seek out Williams when he visited Cordova High while recruiting Tennessee.
“I knew Sean was a good football player because I had watched his highlight tape,” Ingram said. “From the first time I met Sean, I knew he was the perfect fit for the Naval Academy. He just checked all the boxes in terms of attitude, academics and ability. He is a very serious, very driven individual who is real sharp, real intelligent.”
Williams acknowledges that it took some time to warm up to the idea. The first team All-State selection and Liberty Bowl AllStar also had offers from Indiana and Brown among others.
“I was definitely blind to what all was going on at the Naval Academy. My first time really hearing about it was when Coach Ingram sat in my living room and gave me and my parents the full rundown,” Williams said. “My father was the one really pushing Navy. He understood the type of growth it would mean for me as a man.”
Williams overcame a bout with mononucleosis during plebe summer to stand out during August training camp in 2015, impressing the coaching staff with his speed, aggressiveness and sure tackling. He was thrust into the starting lineup at cornerback for the season opener against Colgate after both starters — Quincy Adams (injury) and Brendon Clements (suspension) — were ruled out.
“I felt extremely blessed to be chosen to start, but I also felt totally prepared. My whole life had been pointing toward that moment,” Williams said of his college debut. “I wasn’t nervous because I knew the coaches would not have put me out there if they didn’t trust that I could perform.”
Williams acquitted himself quite well, recording four tackles and a pass breakup as Navy easily beat Colgate. “My classmates
Navy safety Sean Williams tries to tackle Notre Dame’s Dexter Williams on Oct. 27. “Sean has always been focused, always been locked in,” senior linebacker Hudson Sullivan said.