FAYETTEVILLE, NC (WTVD) – The rising star brings that can-do spirit from his hometown of Fayetteville all the way to Super Bowl LVII. Heading into the title match, Joshua Williams is causing a lot of excitement at Sandhills with his inspirational rise to the top.
Friends and teachers say Division II Fayetteville State’s Joshua Williams’ path to the Super Bowl was so unusual because he was a late bloomer. The Fayetteville native played at Jack Britt High School, where he graduated in 2017.
“He’s really humble. He just wants to be big,” said Brian Frierson, former coach at Jack Britt High School and now the football coach at UNC Pembroke. “No matter how good he is right now, he knows he can continue to improve in certain areas of the game and certain areas of his life.”
Williams took some time to improve his grades at a prep school in South Carolina, then transferred to Fayetteville State University. He later earned a starting role as a sophomore at quarterback for the Broncos. He quickly impressed his coaches with his speed, technique and lean physique.
“At the beginning of his third season, his junior year, the scouts came in and took measurements and told him to do the wingspan test, and then they started recording things, and from there it just took off for him,” Richard Hayes Jr. said. head football coach at Fayetteville State.
Williams only played three seasons because of the pandemic, but it didn’t faze him. Last April, he was taken in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, the first player drafted by Fayetteville State since 1976, when the New York Jets took running back James Godwin
He was also the first Fayetteville State player ever invited to the college football Senior Bowl.
“It’s exceptional when you take it all in,” Fayetteville State Chancellor Darrell Ellison said.
It was Williams’ stellar performance on the field last Sunday that carried him and his team into the title game. Williams made a big fourth-quarter interception for the Chiefs in their 23-20 AFC Championship victory against the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals.
“I told Josh … that you can be the bridge that in a lot of cases where we’re only looking at Division I players, (showing) that there are a number of Division II players in the country that deserve a shot, and you can be that, Joshua , Alison said. “Thanks to you, we will have the right to think again, to think a third time about other Joshua Williamses.”
Williams is now hoping to cap off his roaring success with a Vince Lombardi trophy. The Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles will be held on February 12.
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From Fayetteville State to the Super Bowl: The Rise of Joshua Williams
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