Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Former UConn CBs still in Jhavon Williams' corner

Even a few days after the fact it was evident that redshirt freshman defensive back Jhavon Williams was honored and appreciative that current NFL cornerbacks Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Dwayne Gratz are still serving as supporting role models for one of the rising stars on UConn's defense.

The night before UConn hosted Michigan and Williams would be one of the players being asked to contend with the Wolverines' dynamic Jeremy Gallon, Wreh-Wilson spoke to him via phone hookup in the team hotel. Following the game, Dwayne Gratz picked up the phone and called Williams as well.

Williams was being touted as one of the top players in last year's group of true freshmen but he was able to be redshirted with all the depth the Huskies had in the secondary. He worked his way into the two-deep chart as a redshirt freshman and when nickel corner David Stevenson was suspended indefinitely between the Towson and Maryland games, Williams was the first DB off the sidelines when UConn went to its nickel package.

"Actually Coach Perk (UConn cornerbacks coach Darrell Perkins) grabbed me (before the Maryland game) and said ‘get ready to grow up because I am throwing you in,’" Williams said. "We spoke to Blidi the night before the game and he told us that it doesn’t matter if it is Michigan, they put on their pads just like we do and they play football just like we do. He said just play technique and we will be fine. I wasn’t nervous at all. I knew if I did what Coach Perk told me to do and coached me up to do then I would be fine. I did what he told me to. It definitely helped (talking to Wreh-Wilson), I talked to Dwayne Gratz after the game and he told me what I can do a little bit better, how I can improve my game. It was a win-win situation to be able to talk to those guys and having them reaching out to me from the NFL  and telling me I could do it."

Williams intercepted a pass, forced a fumble, had four tackles and also recovered by muffed punt by teammate Brian Lemelle against Michigan.

Starting cornerback Taylor Mack hurt his shoulder in the first half of the Michigan game and his status for Saturday's game at Buffalo is still up in the air so if Mack can't go, Williams could draw the start at cornerback. Whatever his role is, Williams vows to be ready.

"Whatever he (UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni) asks me to do, I am going to do. If he asks me to get water that is what I am going to do. He knows what he is talking about, I never doubt him and do whatever my coaches tell me to do.

"It is a big week of practice and just going out there playing fast, dominating and doing whatever they want me to do."

Williams will be playing in his first road game at UConn but there is at least one familiar face waiting for Williams as Buffalo sophomore running back James Potts played with Williams at American Heritage before Williams transferred to Palm Beach Central for his senior season.

"I am looking forward to being able to see him in 1 on 1 in the open field and it is going to be fun," Williams said. "We spoke in preseason and he (busted my chops) a little bit and I can’t wait to be able to see him. We got the best of them last year so I know they have a chip on their shoulder."



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