Per­fect fit

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - NEWS -

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

KENT HORNER/GETTY IM­AGES

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.

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