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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Beginning of the end: Ex-Husker to conclude career at KU

Defensive lineman Josh Williams, left, wraps up Minnesota’s Donnell Kirkwood during their game Oct. 22, 2011, in Minneapolis. Williams, then with Nebraska, has transferred to Kansas University, where he’s expected to vie for a starting job on the defensive line.

Defensive lineman Josh Williams, left, wraps up Minnesota’s Donnell Kirkwood during their game Oct. 22, 2011, in Minneapolis. Williams, then with Nebraska, has transferred to Kansas University, where he’s expected to vie for a starting job on the defensive line.

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Throughout the offseason, new Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis and his coaching staff talked plenty about the group of defensive linemen headed to campus this summer that, they believed, would significantly upgrade the position.

Last week, during a sit-down with a small group of reporters, Weis went one step further and talked at length about one of them — former Nebraska defensive end Josh Williams.

“He hasn’t gotten nearly as much ink as you would’ve expected him to,” Weis said. “I mean, this guy was a front-line player for a top program for years.”

He also encountered his share of trouble, but Weis said he was not concerned with Williams’ past, which includes being dismissed by Nebraska in February and alleged theft and assault charges in his hometown of Denton, Texas, in 2008.

“It isn’t important what you guys know, it’s what I know,” Weis said. “I did the whole background check, and I said to him, ‘You come here, here’s the deal. And that’s the way it’s gonna operate. So if you want in on that, we have a good shot down here.’”

Williams, a 6-foot-4, 260-pound strong-side end from Ryan High, played in all 13 games for the Cornhuskers last year, starting two. He finished the 2011 season with 15 tackles, one for loss, and one blocked kick. He played in 29 games with Nebraska, finishing his NU career with 27 tackles.

Once regarded as one of the top prep talents in Texas, Williams has a shot to play in the NFL, many have said.

“When you’re a fifth-year guy, you come here for a different reason now,” Weis said. “You come here because this is your last opportunity. It’s not because they love coach Weis or they love KU. This is their last opportunity. And if they want to have an opportunity to play on Sunday, this is their last chance.”

There are at least a few elements about the opportunity at KU that made coming to Kansas attractive to Williams. For starters, one of his good friends — wide receiver D.J. Beshears — is a senior at KU. The two attended the same high school in Texas.

“That helped because Beshears could say, ‘Here’s what Weis is doing,’” Weis said. “(Williams) had a guy first-hand giving him an account of what was happening down here. It was easy to get a host for him when he came here on a visit. I kinda knew who to ask for that one.”

Beyond the link to Beshears, who graduated from Ryan High in 2009, one year after Williams, KU’s new defensive end also had a previous connection to defensive-line coach Buddy Wyatt, who spent time recruiting him out of high school.

“He and Buddy had a relationship from way back,” Weis said. “That’s one of the reasons why Buddy Wyatt was kept here. It’s easy to just clear house when you come into a place and just let everyone go. But I can’t tell you how many recruits I’ve talked to in this whole process that had good things to say about Reggie and Buddy.”

Williams, like a few other KU newcomers, graduated in May and will be eligible to play immediately because of the fifth-year transfer rule that allows recent graduates to play without penalty after enrolling at a new school. He is expected to compete for a starting role right away.

“There’s a lot of guys coming on that defensive line,” Weis said. “… But I think he’ll be really big.”

Comments

Randy Bombardier 1 year, 9 months ago

This kinda validates that the players are buying in when they recruit for you. Thank you, DJ. Am also looking for you to go out with style this year.

1

mikehawk 1 year, 9 months ago

Not much to build the program long term, but we need help RIGHT NOW! To do so, you have to take some chances with kids like this. You never know. Nothing helps out a defense like the ability to put consistent heat on the passer. We haven't seen anything close to that in awhile and the results have been painfully obvious. The Old Ball Coach continues to win me over.

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sirLoin 1 year, 9 months ago

Josh Williams was a good player with a lot of upside. I hope for you guys he turns into an every down player. There were times where it seemed as though he leveled off or didn't try as hard. I hope that he improves and becomes the player that the Huskers recruited him to be because he should be better than what those stats suggest.

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phogphan2000 1 year, 9 months ago

This could be a huge pick-up for Weis, D-line is a big issue for KU. Bringing in a physically mature guy to beef up the line is key. If he doesn't work out, he doesn't work out, but Weis continues to give reasons for KU fans to hope for a decent year next year.

0

Fototherapist 1 year, 9 months ago

I assume Charlie knows what he's doing with this one. Hopefully this guy has matured.

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JakeBarnes 1 year, 9 months ago

I lived in Denton for many years and know what great teams Ryan high school produced. This kid was one of the very best players they had in their better years. I was also a friend of Billy Ryan, who died very young. Billy was the A.D. or assistant principal at the time of his death. I really don't understand how Josh got in trouble. He wasn't a bad kid then.

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nuleafjhawk 1 year, 9 months ago

“When you’re a fifth-year guy, you come here for a different reason now,” Weis said. “You come here because this is your last opportunity. It’s not because they love coach Weis or they love KU. This is their last opportunity. And if they want to have an opportunity to play on Sunday, this is their last chance.”

So far, I haven't seen or heard much from Coach W that I don't like. I absolutely love the fact that he doesn't sugar coat stuff and says what's on his mind, and not what he thinks people want to hear. I don't know how many games we'll win this year, but I am really looking forward to football for a change.

3

CrimsonAndBlueForLife 1 year, 9 months ago

Glad he has seen the light and departed from the ranks of those back-stabbing Corn-Shucksters to be part of the Big 12's Turnaround Story of the Year! Rock Chalk Jayhawk! To hell with Nebr@$$ka!

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Jason Keller 1 year, 9 months ago

Anybody that was allowed on the field by Nebraska, would destroy anyone who has been affiliated with our defensive line for the last 2 years. Although I really think opurum is not bad.

It's awesome to see this new coaching staff getting creative to find talent for our team. Every single position on the team has been upgraded. I don't know what our record will look like after this season but I think you can kiss the 40 point blowouts goodbye. We should stay in just about every game this season. Fingers are crossed.

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JHWKDW 1 year, 9 months ago

Well hope he has learned his lesson!

Unfortunately he kinda reminds me of another Nebraska guy I remember from the NFL Lawrence Phillips.He was no good to St.Louis or San Francisco even though he did have talent, also his troubled past came back to hurt him and the team!

Well Josh Williams learn from Phillips do not screw up your final chance.

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Chris1955 1 year, 9 months ago

There's nothing like a final chance for salvation to spark motivation and desire. Good luck Josh!

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JHAWKSWAG 1 year, 9 months ago

I hope this dude tears the club up, our D-line is probably the most suspect area of our team.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 1 year, 9 months ago

Hope he pans out better than the Nebraska QB we had!

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KUFan90 1 year, 9 months ago

Welcome to Lawrence Josh.

I think he'll have a solid year for us this year. Nice work by Weis to get him on board. I think he just wants to put his legal problems behind him and work hard his final year to show what he can do.

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april28 1 year, 9 months ago

He graduated, albeit frm a glorified technical school, in four years. He deserves credit for that.

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