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From walk-on to the radar

Anonymous no longer – at least one would think.

With seven sparkling kickoff returns for 172 yards in Saturday’s game against Miami, Roger Williams Jr. is proving to be a very valuable asset to the Falcons this season. It wasn’t always this glamorous, though.

Williams is a former walk-on who fought and battled to get where he is today. He was so anonymous last season that when he returned a kick, it left the communications office scrambling to figure out who exactly number 31 was.

“While I was a walk-on, I had plenty of goals and went through some ups and downs and got a bunch of blessings and I’m just hoping they continue to come,” Williams said. “I’m just glad to be in a position that I’m in and I’m just glad the coaches believed in me.”

With no player biography on the BG athletic Web site, Williams still flies under the radar on this Falcons team, but that does not change how valuable he has been to them.

Against Miami (OH), he was pretty much the lone bright spot with his kickoff return abilities. It was not his fault that the Falcons lost he did everything he could. According to Williams, it is not all about him.

“I’m trying to do what I can do to make the team better but we all know it’s not about me, it’s about the kickoff return team,” Williams said. “They’ve been blocking so well, I just try to get as many yards as possible for them and maybe even a touchdown.”

Williams has done that this season and then some. He has returned 19 kickoffs this season for 464 yards, a 24.4 yard average.

He continues to put the offense in great field position, something that has not gone unnoticed by teammates like quarterback Tyler Sheehan.

“Roger has stepped up big time on special teams,” Sheehan said, “Now we got a guy back there who we know if we get the ball in his hands, he can make something happen back there. That’s going to be key down the stretch because if he is putting us in great field position, that’s going to help us win a lot of games.”

On Saturday Williams gave the Falcons an average starting-field position at their own 40 yard line. The Falcons did nothing with that great starting field position and were only able to convert on one drive in which Williams gave them a great starting spot.

Earlier in the season, Williams was struggling to get a hold of the kickoffs in practice. The coaches just kept working with him and that patience has paid off.

“We just worked him and worked him and worked him,” said coach Gregg Brandon. “He kept handling kickoffs and handling kickoffs until he got comfortable back there with it. He has really emerged back there as a force for us.”

While Williams has been great this season as a kickoff return specialist, he could end up making an appearance on defense.

“I’m hoping to get in at corner,” Williams said. “I’ve been working with the ‘ones’ right now.”

From walk-on to starter in two years is a pretty good accomplishment. Just think, if he keeps producing like this on kickoff returns, maybe he’ll even get that player bio.

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