Name: Trevor Williams
College: Penn State
NFL games played: 12
Games played for the Chargers: 12
Fun fact: Williams has one of the more interesting degrees on the team - he graduated in December 2015 with a degree in Recreation, Parks and Tourism Management.
Trevor Williams grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and played his High School football for Calvert Hall. A two-year letterman and team captain, Williams played WR and FS, and his Junior year saw Calvert Hall finish with an 11-1 record and their first Conference Championship for 28 years. Calvert Hall would post an 11-2 record in Williams’ Senior Year as he excelled on both sides of the ball, with 99 receptions for 1,180 yards and 15 TDs on offense alongside 31 tackles and 4 interceptions coming from the FS position.
Williams was a 3* recruit as both a WR and a FS on most major recruiting sites, and initially committed to West Virginia. However, he’d done so with the intention of playing on the offensive side on the ball. When WVU started to talk about Williams actually playing defense, he got uneasy - and when a large portion of the coaching team left, Williams decided to de-commit from WVU, and eventually decided to commit to Penn State.
Williams was granted his wish to play on the offensive side of the ball, playing in all 12 games and starting one (against Ohio State) at WR as a True Freshman, grabbing 10 catches for 97 yards as well as returning four kicks. However, then Nittany Lion HC Bill O’Brien asked him to move from WR to CB after the season was over. According to Williams, “I really didn't expect to switch to DB. But once I switched over, I felt comfortable. I played to the best of my ability. The transition started off kind of shaky, it was hard. But I took a lot of time and effort to polish my technique, stay in the film room, and basically just got better over time.”
According to VictoryBellRings, “it was an up-and-down transition year for Williams.” “He started the season with a solid game against Syracuse, including a game sealing interception. By mid season after the blowout loss at Ohio State, he had lost his starter status. But in the season finale at Wisconsin, he made the interception that led to what would eventually be the game winning touchdown against the Badgers.”
After that initial benching, Williams got more and more comfortable at CB and was named an Honorable Mention All-Big 10 in his Junior Year by the media and in his Senior Year by the coaches, finishing his career at Penn State with 84 tackles and 5 interceptions. Williams also was named the Ridge Riley Memorial Award winner “for the senior member of the team that exhibits the core values of sportsmanship, scholarship, leadership, and friendship.”
Williams followed up his impressive college career with a good performance at Penn State’s Pro Day, running a 4.44 40 yard dash with a 35.5 inch vertical jump and a 10’5’ broad jump. He went undrafted, but quickly signed with the Chargers as an UDFA. If I had to describe his Preseason in a word? Underwhelming. Not a single one of the UDFA CBs did anything to make an impression in either Training Camp or in Preseason, and I was surprised when Williams even managed to make it onto the Practice Squad. He didn’t stay there for long, though. After injuries to the Chargers CBs hit and hit hard, Williams was called up to the active roster in Week 5, where he’d appear in his first NFL game against the Oakland Raiders. Williams would stay on the active roster for the rest of the season, appearing in every game and starting five near the end of the season when the Chargers were down to the bare bones at CB.
Williams started off really well, but as the season went on he started to struggle more and more. With that said, asking somebody who’s only played CB for three years to come in with very little warning and guard some of the best WRs in the world is a massive task, and having that year of experience under his belt should help Williams no end as he looks to fight for a roster spot this year.
If the Chargers carry 6 CBs, I think Williams will make it onto the 53. Jason Verrett, Casey Hayward and Desmond King will all make it, which would leave two or three spots depending on how many CBs the Chargers want to carry. Michael Davis has been impressing in camp, I think Trovon Reed (another WR to CB convert) will stay on the roster after impressing late last season, and Craig Mager isn’t going to go quietly. I think Williams would be able to beat out one of them (as well as the other CBs in camp who are currently buried down the depth chart), but if the Chargers only want to carry 5 CBs I think he’s going to struggle to make the team over two of them.
Off the field, Williams is a quiet kid raised by a single mother. A teammate remembered him as giving “thoughtful answers to homework questions about human nature and society. Very intelligent on and off the field.” And while Williams was a star on the football field back in High School, his coach was just as important to him off of it. According to this excellent article from Centre Daily:
“I can remember not having enough money to eat for lunch and he [High School coach Donald Davis] would take $5, $10 out of his pocket to make sure that we had lunch and things like that. He would actually get mad if we didn’t say like, ‘Coach we’re hungry,’ but it was just a pride thing with us. We don’t want to ask you for anything.”
Davis clearly meant a lot to Williams, who has dreams of following in his old coach’s footsteps and become a coach himself after football or open up a recreation center. Indeed, Williams was involved in running an event aimed at getting elementary school-kids active, when he noticed that a girl was sitting out alone. Williams went over to talk to her and began to coach her personally through the drills.
“She ended up having a blast, so it’s just the kind of person that he is. Even though he’s more reserved, he’s gonna be the guy to go find that kid in the corner of the room that’s maybe not having such a great day or doesn’t want to participate, and he’s gonna get them involved.”
If you’ve been reading these 90-in-90s, you’d have noticed that there’s a theme in the type of person that Tom Telesco and the Chargers are looking for in their UDFAs, and that’s good, smart people. Williams is a good guy who also happens to be one hell of an athlete, and one that could be capable of becoming a starting CB in the NFL down the line. His coaching aspirations will have to wait for now.