Ex-Bull Williams making quick impact with Giants
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Former USF linebacker Jacquian Williams has made a huge impact for any rookie, let alone a sixth-rounder on a division-leading team like the New York Giants. Forgive him if his first two months as a pro have been a blur.
"It's definitely a lot to learn, a lot of stuff thrown at me," Williams said last week, halfway through a rookie season that's already seen him have 40 total tackles. "You have to adjust fast, and you have to grow up fast."
Williams only had one year as a regular starter at USF, but he's handled the transition well for the Giants, where the tallest hurdle has been the relative complexity of NFL defensive schemes.
"The biggest adjustment to me is learning the different terminologies, just understanding what's going on with the whole defense," said Williams, a Riverview graduate. "It's very complicated. College, you kind of always stick to the basics of things, assign gaps. You have the same gap all the time, pretty much. In the NFL, it's a scheme, and everything changes all the time."
Veteran linebacker Michael Boley recognized Williams' athleticism in preseason camp, telling him he could be a special player if he puts in the time required to understand his position.
"That was the first thing I saw: He's a tremendous athlete," Boley said. "I was able to talk to Jacquian early on and let him know he could be a playmaker for us. Coming in and learning the system, he took the time out to put more effort into studying to help him be better on the football field."
The transition Williams is making is more than just the speed of football -- he's learning to be a professional, how to conduct himself and handle the spotlight of being a pro athlete.
"You have to dress nice, dress according to everything," he said. "In college, I didn't have to deal with things outside of school and football. There's a lot more to being who you want to be."
Williams lives in New Jersey, just 10 minutes from the Giants practice complex. He hasn't been home to Tampa since the season started, supporting three young children from afar, reiterating how important it is to focus on his future in football during this rookie transition.
"They always say the first year is the toughest," he said. "To be great, I'd rather make the sacrifices early."