The Fayetteville State Broncos have been the most dominant Division II HBCU over the last four seasons. Only the Bowie State Bulldogs have been better. In fact, those two programs have faced off in the last four CIAA Championship games, with Bowie State winning the last three (2018, 2019, and 2021).
The FSU Broncos got their lone win in the 2017 matchup. A huge reason for the Broncos making the trek to Salem, Virginia, in the middle of nowhere to play for the title four consecutive years has been the play of stalwart cornerback Joshua Williams. The 6-foot-3 200-pounder has consistently taken half of the field away with his blanket coverage, length and make-up speed.
That combination has garnered Williams some real interest as pertains to playing at the next level. Williams is a quiet, humble, but fiery competitor who loves to lock horns with the opponent’s best.
Making History: Half Century Of Ignored Talent
Williams is hoping to break a 46-year drought of players from Fayetteville State being drafted. Born and raised in Fayetteville, the rangy cover corner talked to reporters about his experience growing up.
My Top-10 senior HBCU prospects entering the 2021 season: pic.twitter.com/slN1p0SN7i
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) August 30, 2021
“I’ve always loved football. I started playing when I was 10 years. It was football and track at first, and then I started playing basketball. Those were the sports I was playing through middle school. I actually started off as a running back until high school, then I was a receiver up until my senior year. It’s crazy because, in high school I actually was a better track athlete than football.”
Williams Is A Talented, Instinctual Cornerback
While Williams possesses plenty of speed, athleticism and toughness on the corner, it’s his instincts that jump off the screen. The understanding of what offenses are trying to do shows how often he studies film. When you watch him on tape you can see he understands the tendencies of an offense.
Getting first live look at Fayetteville State CB Josh Williams (@Jwilliofficial), who has emerged as top-graded small-school defender for 2022 @seniorbowl. Unique size/length at 6025v with 32 5/8 arms. #NFL press-man tools on full display in this clip. #TheDraftStartsInMOBILE™️ pic.twitter.com/kg24QKfhpQ
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) October 9, 2021
He ran 10.68 in the 100 meters, which caught Power Five schools’ attention, but he wasn’t a qualifier due to an unimpressive academic portfolio. He admits that he didn’t believe he’d play college football, and some time in prep school helped steer him on the correct path to collegiate competition.
Williams Shined For Broncos: Ballhawking Corner Was One Of Four HBCU Players To Attend NFL Combine
In February, Williams was one of just four players from HBCUs invited to the NFL Combine. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.49 seconds and showed his leaping ability with a 36-inch vertical and 124-inch broad jump.
— HBCU Legacy Bowl (@HBCULegacyBowl) October 7, 2021
On the field, most teams would shy away from “Williams Island,” as bad things tend to happen to opposing offenses when they test his ballhawk ability. Weekly he locked up the opposing team’s top target on the outside.
While most corners aren’t willing tacklers, he is. Point blank, Williams has a rare combination of size and athleticism. Instincts, body control, and top-end speed make him a lock to be a team’s 2-3 corner, meaning he’ll see the field an awful lot.
In an interview at the NFL Combine, Williams talked about his journey to this point.
“Believe it or not, you ask anybody I grew up with. I was always saying I was going to end up here. It hasn’t been easy, but I always truly did believe I’d get here.”
Now Williams will hope to hear his name called to become the first FSU Broncos player to be drafted since 1976.