Mike Williams was one of the best, on and off the field (Photo by USA Today Sports)
All Clemson fans remember the scary moment when Mike Williams injured his neck in the Tigers 2015 season opener against Wofford. The Vance, SC, native was attempting to catch a touchdown pass, and as he made the catch, he collided with the base of the goalpost. It caused a fractured vertebrae in his neck and sidelined him for the entire season.
Others may remember him for a November game in 2016 that saw Williams go off against UofSC, where he famously carried one defender into the end zone on his back. A game that saw him score first half touchdowns of 34, 19, and 16 yards, while finishing with six receptions for 100 yards, including those three first half touchdowns.
Then, of course, you have the gritty performance in the 2016 National Championship win over Alabama, that saw him haul in eight catches for 94 yards and a touchdown, as he helped Clemson win their first Natty in 35 years.
For this Tiger fan though, the memory that makes the rest of these so much better was from an October night back in 2015. I had gotten word that one of my favorite country singers, Josh Turner, was going to be playing at Tigerama. So my cousin Wayne and I, decided to drive up and knock out two of my bucket list items out at once (seeing Josh Turner in concert and attending Tigerama).
As we walked into Doug Kingsmore Stadium that night I saw a towering figure in Orange wearing a neck brace, and I told Wayne that I thought it was Mike Williams. As we got closer, we realized that it indeed was him so we approached him and asked if he minded getting a photo with me.
He kindly said that would be fine, and while taking the photo we also were able to discuss his injury and how his rehab was coming along. This guy didn’t know me from Adam’s house cat, yet he talked with me like we had known each other for years. He was truly one of the nicest, and down to earth players I have ever had the opportunity to meet, and I will always remember that.
So, when I saw the video that the Los Angeles Chargers shared via their twitter account of him making numerous one handed catches, that was the first thing I thought of. How a guy recovering from a horrible injury, on a night off, took the time to not only take a photo with, but also carry on a nice conversation with a complete stranger.