Michael Williams figured picking a college would be easy. His older brother had starred for the University of Maryland football team and Williams – also a defensive back – had accepted a scholarship offer to play for the Terrapins.
Then Williams, who last week graduated from DeMatha High, started running indoor track over the winter. His interest in football waned. Although he signed a National Letter-of-Intent to play for Maryland, he asked for and was granted a release.
His family, including older brother Madieu Williams who has played seven NFL seasons, was “pretty shocked,” Michael Williams said. “I felt like it was time to take my footsteps and do what makes me happy. Track makes me happy. I’m walking in my own footsteps instead of following in someone else’s. [People] say it’s crazy, but I’m going to do what makes me happy.”
Williams, who is 5 feet 10 and 170 pounds, said he began to feel this way over the winter.
“As soon as indoor started, I felt I could do something with track,” Williams said recently after having his picture taken as part of the All-Met outdoor track and field team. “I made it to indoor nationals [in New York City] and felt I could do more than indoor nationals with track.”
Williams was an honorable mention All-Met during the indoor season and made first-team All-Met this spring during the outdoor season as one of the Washington area’s top sprinters and hurdlers.
North Carolina, Ohio State, George Mason, Howard and Kent State have recruited him to run track, but the recruiting process is much different than in football, where Division I-A teams each offer 85 full scholarships.
“We’re talking money right now and how to apply for scholarships – it’s a different recruiting than football recruiting,” he said. “With football, if they want you, that’s it, they want you. In track, you’ve got to run a certain time every week.
“I still love football. But I lost the passion for it.”