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May 11, 2023
Wildkits outside linebacker Terrell Williams would sit on his couch and watch NFL and college football games with his dad as a young kid. Recognizing Williams’ interest in the sport, his father got him a football, and Williams went outside to play with it every day. After continuing to show that work ethic on the high school team, Williams committed to Lakeland University to continue his journey as an athlete.
“When I moved to Evanston, a park staff gave me a chance,” said Williams. “He paid for me and my friend to play football for the Junior Wildkits, the youth team here. We played in practice every day at the park by our house. But we didn’t have the money to pay for youth football. Somebody saw us working so hard. They decided to do it for us. That’s where I started my journey to tackle football.”
People see me as me for football, so if I was to stop doing it, would they still see that same guy?”
— Lakeland University commit Terrell Williams
When Williams joined the football team, he found immediate success. After moving up to varsity for his senior year, he didn’t need to get used to the higher level of physicality because he had already been training at that high level since he was a freshman.
“A lot of 2020 and 2021 guys were still there,” Williams said. “I was in the weight room, and some guys didn’t even know who I was. But they still took me in. My favorite thing is the hard work and dedication you’ve got to put in. You get hit. It hurts. If you start crying, it’s not the sport for you.”
A trip to Olivet Nazarene University the summer before senior year helped to prepare Williams for varsity and potentially for college, too. Lakeland wasn’t Williams’ top school initially, but it was still an opportunity to play football in the NCAA.
“During COVID, I got to experience more things outside of football,” said Williams. “Once we took that break, I was like, ‘I gotta find other hobbies.’ Football is my dream, but there’s so much more stuff out here. People see me as me for football, so if I was to stop doing it, would they still see that same guy? Would they accept this guy for who he is? I don’t know how to feel about football in college, but it’s an exciting process, and this is an amazing experience.”