Charlotte, N.C. (NJCAA) - Sophomore Sam Williams of Northeast Mississippi has been named the 2018 NJCAA Football Defensive Player of the Year. Bound for Ole Miss next year, Williams tied for the most sacks in the nation with the Tigers this season.
Williams served as a force on the defensive side of the ball for Northeast Mississippi. After making the switch from a freshman linebacker to defensive end as a sophomore, Williams increased his individual statistics in nearly every category which included 14 additional sacks in 2018. Williams inked his National Letter Intent with the Ole Miss Rebels on Wednesday during the first day of the NCAA's Early Signing Period.
Position: Defensive End
Hometown: Montgomery, Alabama
28.5 tackles for loss
4 forced fumbles
4 pass breakups
NJCAA First Team All-American
NJCAA First Team All-Region 23
NJCAA Region 23 Defensive Most Valuable Player
Mississippi Association of Community & Junior Colleges Most Valuable Defensive Lineman
NJCAA Football Defensive Player of the Week (9/6)
Northeast Mississippi Head Coach Greg Davis on Williams
"His size and his speed is a rarity in college football. He has some kind of freakish ability. When you look at a total complete package as far as athleticism and size, Sam possesses all that. Sam just has to continue to get better on the field at Ole Miss. We're hoping for great things for the Rebels."
"His maturity level has grown quite a bit. He understands the values and the things we've tried to instill in him over the last 18 months here at Northeast. We have that family relationship that he can always come back home. We just love the fact that he's now part of our history and legacy here. We definitely feel like he's grown as a person. Academically he graduated with over a 2.8 GPA. We're really excited about that. Knowing Sam's background and where he came from and the things he's gone through in his life, to get to this moment is rewarding. I'm really excited for him. I know his teammates are really, really excited for him and what the future holds."
"It's kind of surprising because I've got areas that I can improve on. I'm getting better each year. The position change was pretty big because as a defensive end, all I had to do was beat one man and I was right at the ball. It helped my game a lot. It helped me focus on less and do more."
"I always underestimated myself. People always underestimate me, but God knows your plan. It's just the fact that I came from nothing and turned into something. It shows that anybody can do it. Don't ever give up on yourself."