Regardless of which staff was in place at UC over the last several months, it was clear that both groups felt depth was needed at the running back position. The Butch Jones staff had as many as three backs committed (although none made it to National Signing Day), and Tommy Tuberville’s staff addressed the problem by adding a couple of junior college studs. One of which was Hosey Williams from ASA Junior College in Brooklyn, New York.
Williams is a bit of an enigma for UC football fans so Bearcat Lair contacted the 1st team NJCAA All-American last weekend to try and fill-in some of the blanks.
As a Miami Southwest High School star running back for three years, Williams posted some great numbers, and as a junior, he rushed for 1,039 yards with 13 touchdowns and a 10.3 yard per carry average. However, after a sudden coaching change, the elusive back looked to transfer.
As a senior, Williams got entangled in some high school transfer/recruiting issues and ended up playing his final prep season at Miami Killian High School where he was named to the 2010 Miami Herald 6A All-Dade County 2nd team as an “all-purpose back.” After the season, he transferred to Southridge High School, which was closer to his home and his original choice.
Unfortunately, all the bouncing from school to school may have contributed to academic issues that prevented him from accepting a scholarship offer from Western Michigan in 2010. Central Michigan and USF also showed considerable interest. Williams explained his academic situation as a high school senior.
“I had the grades, but I had an issue with the ACT. I also had only one year of a language class and I needed two.”
At 5-foot-6.5 inches tall and 174 pounds (according to a combine he attended in January of 2009), Williams was on the smallish side, and although he had good speed, he probably wouldn’t have been categorized as a burner (two combines listed his forty speed at 4.6 seconds). Couple those facts with academic issues, and it’s no wonder this young man fell through the recruiting cracks.
After graduating from Southridge, Williams spent a year working at a Miami restaurant, but he never gave up on his dream of playing college football. One day an old acquantance, LaVaughn Whigham, talked to Williams about contacting ASA Junior College, a school that had started its football program only a couple of years earlier.
“One of my former teammate’s friends (Whigham) was telling me about a school, and I said I’d like to see it,” said Williams. “I called the coach, Dennis Orlando, and after he saw my film, he was like, ‘Yeah. We’ve got to get you here as soon as possible.’ That’s how I ended up at ASA.”
Ironically, Whigham had only months earlier signed a letter of intent to play football for Tommy Tuberville at Texas Tech, but academic difficulties sent the wide receiver looking for other options. Williams and Whigham have since lost contact with each other.
A freshman year where he admittedly had to shake off some rust saw Williams get only 28 carries, but last season the Miami resident regained his form and became a juco star. Williams was named “Player of the Year” in the Northeast Football Conference (which also includes Greg Blair’s alma mater- Lackawanna) after rushing for 1,269 yards for a 7.2 yard per carry average. He helped the Avengers post a 9-0 record that included wins over No. 16 ranked Dean College (69-14) and No. 3 ranked Nassau Community College (30-29) that earned the school its first bowl invitation.
On December 1, 2012, the undefeated and No. 3 ranked Avengers lost 47-21 to No. 4 ranked Snow College (Utah) in the Carrier Dome Bowl. The 5-foot-8, 205 pound back led his club with 97 rushing yard but explained that his squad wasn’t at full speed.
“Some guys didn’t get back to school by the deadline so they didn’t play that game,” he said.
After officially visiting Idaho and newly named Vandals’ head coach, Paul Petrino, just prior to Christmas, Williams got a Cincinnati offer from Eddie Gran soon afterward and committed (without ever visiting the UC campus). Originally, the plan called for Williams to be an early enrollee, but he wasn’t able to get everything in order to start classes in January. He explained why he wasn’t able to take an official visit to the Queen City.
“I was trying to get everything finished, and I couldn’t get my final official transcript in time,” said Williams. “The timing was bad.”
With an associate degree in criminal justice already in hand, Williams’ new plan is to start school in May and pursue a bachelor’s degree in business at the University of Cincinnati.
Williams was asked what he liked about the UC program.
“I just like the program,” he said. “I knew it was a great program on the rise. I’ve been seeing that they’ve been doing well. I like everything about them- the academics and even the colors.”
Because he did not enroll in college immediately after high school, Hosey Williams will have three years to play two.