Editor’s note: In what is planned to be an annual Father’s Day feature, DawgNation has found one unique father-son relationship we’ve noticed along the recruiting trail. Their story is just one example of the great work still being done by fathers everywhere on the road to the SEC.
There are now hundreds of Jamyest Williams stories sprawled around the internet. All the words and headlines stretch out over cyberspace like Terrence Cody on a bean bag chair. That’s because he’s an elite player in every sense of the term.
Will the Athens native stay in-state and play for UGA? What’s the latest with Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and USC? Watch out for Ohio State and South Carolina in particular. Those schools seem like major contenders.
This narrative won’t be a weather report on how hot or cold all those schools are. It will point to the man who set his path like a heat-seeking missile to where Williams ranks today. Check out the Father’s Day message in the video interview above.
It carries a message of appreciation for his father James “JJ” Williams. His father was a high school standout in Oklahoma who kept the referees busy signaling first downs and touchdowns back in his day. That career even extended to the junior college level.
He’s been training his son since he was six years old.
Williams said he would be an “average” player without that push he’s gotten from his father. He feels his guidance has meant everything to his rankings as the No. 6 cornerback and the No. 52 overall player in America.
“He’s kept me humble and hungry and made me the man I am today,” Williams said. “I couldn’t be more blessed than to have him as a father.”
The 5-foot-9 cornerback said his father made him do things other kids did not do. He even accelerated his maturity to the point that Williams now feels when he’s at college by himself, he’ll have all the drive necessary to accomplish his goals.
“Sometimes I didn’t want to do (all he made me do) but it is what it is,” Williams said. “You have to do what it takes to get to the top.”
Williams shined as an impact tailback (21 touchdowns) and a big-play eraser at cornerback last year at Archer. He did so despite a nagging bone spur that limited him to 85 percent effectiveness.
This year he has transferred to Grayson and will shine during several televised matchups, including an ESPN broadcast with Florida juggernaut IMG Academy.
This is different than most “Helicopter Dads” in a player’s life. His father noticed his son’s technique at an all-star event and shared a direct message with a reporter that included tips he hoped could be passed along in real time.
His father was his principal trainer until high school. Williams operates Unified Preps based on his experiences with his son. That’s an athletic training and college football recruiting consulting service for young players in Gwinnett County.
Perhaps one of the toughest methods Williams now endures is to run with a weighted 30-to-40 pound vest strapped to his chest. He’ll sprint for 50 or 60 yards for five or six intervals at a time.
His father has provided him with the mental training throughout the years to handle that.
“The dream is (the NFL) most definitely, but that would come last,” Williams said. “The main goal is to get that education first. The thing my dad really wants for me is to get my education.”
JJ Williams made sure to point out the signing bonuses awarded to recent first-round NFL draft picks. Then what his father didn’t know on the football side, he found out.
“He did all his homework, always watching football and learning from different people,” Williams said of his father.
Williams remembers when his father had him in pads when he was six years old with his older brothers.
“We were always going after it in the yard,” Williams said. “It kind of made me tougher a little bit, too.”
“He and I will both be happy if I make it all the way,” Williams said. “I don’t know who will be happiest. Me or him. That’s because we’ve both gone through this process together. It has been stressful for both of us.”
The Grayson senior used a lot of adjectives to describe their relationship.
“That man is my father and my Dad but also my spark and motivation and my inspiration and all of that,” Williams said. “I’d call him all of those things.”
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges. Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.