Jackie Williams had dreams of going to a bowl game his senior year.
Only, those dreams were in UAB colors as Williams thought he was ready to close out a prolific career for the Blazers. Instead, after a poor relationship with now-departed coach Garrick McGee forced him to transfer, Williams spent last season on the scout team at UCF and got a trip to the Fiesta Bowl.
After playing a behind-the-scenes role in the Knights most historic season ever, Williams is ready to play a featured part during the 2014 season.
“It’s really humbling because you come from a program where you’ve been playing three years, a D-I college, and you have to come and basically start all the way over,” Williams said. “It just makes you appreciate the game a lot more. It makes you want to practice and want to do things the right way.”
The 5-feet-11, 190-pound receiver racked up 140 receptions and 1,733 receiving yards in three years at UAB, ranking fourth all-time in that program’s history, and ranked ninth in all-purpose yards with 2,511. Now, he’ll try to step into the role vacated by Jeff Godfrey.
He’s part of a deep receiving corps. The Knights return Rannell Hall, J.J. Worton, Breshad Perriman, Josh Reese and Taylor Oldham, but Williams will likely factor in from the start. Williams has the unique task of readying for playing time without knowing who the starting quarterback will be, but he said it won’t be an issue after playing with three different passers in three years at UAB.
For now, it’s all about getting back into the groove of playing with the starting offense.
“It felt good to get out there running again with a purpose,” Williams said after the first day of spring practice. “Trying to learn these plays and get the formations and stuff down. I think I’m catching on pretty good, but there’s still work to do.”
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