February 20, 2007 > Roy Williams, Dallas Cowboys safety
Roy Williams, Dallas Cowboys safety
By Steve Michel
In 1994, Roy Williams entered James Logan High School in Union City as a freshman. He came to play football and by his sophomore year in 1995 he was a varsity starter at defensive back and earned the first of a long list of all-star recognitions.
That year, Williams was selected to the first team All-Mission Valley Athletic League. He repeated that recognition the next two years and also made first team All-East Bay his junior and senior seasons.
Neal Fromson, Logan High head football coach from 1988-2002, said Williams was the hardest hitting defensive player he ever coached in those 15 years as the Logan varsity coach. "Roy was a happy-go-lucky kid who always had a big smile on his face. It kind of amazed me that he hit so hard on the football field because he was not a mean kid. He never stood over an opponent and talked trash. He was a real good example for my other players at Logan," states Fromson.
After William's outstanding career at Logan High, scholarship offers came pouring in from major colleges all over the United States. Williams chose to go to the University of Oklahoma at Norman. Fromson notes, "The reason Roy went to Oklahoma was because they had a really good program for athletes with learning disabilities and Roy had some learning disability problems in the classroom at Logan. Plus they had a great football program for over 60 years. Roy also had some relatives living in Oklahoma."
At Oklahoma, Williams' reputation grew nationwide for his hard-hitting brand of defensive football. As a sophomore, Williams was the starting safety for Oklahoma's National Champion Sooners. He was selected as a first team All-American.
Williams' junior year saw him nearly clearing the table of awards: first team All-American; first team All-Big 12 conference; Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year; Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the nation's top overall defensive player; and the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back.
After this stellar year at Oklahoma, Williams decided to forgo his senior season in favor of the NFL. He was the eighth pick of the first round in the 2002 NFL draft, selected by the Dallas Cowboys. Along with collecting $13 million in salary and bonuses, Williams stepped onto the big stage as if he was born there. Moved to free safety to play alongside veteran strong safety, Darren Woodson, Williams was a starter from the very first game of his pro career, immediately establishing a reputation as a game-breaking presence in the defensive backfield.
He was runner-up for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and just missed collecting enough votes to make the Pro Bowl; quite a feat for a rookie defender. In that first year, Williams intercepted five passes, returning two of those for touchdowns. He also had 88 tackles.
The so-called "sophomore jinx" meant nothing to the former Logan High star in his second NFL season. Williams picked-off two more passes, collected 55 tackles and made the Pro Bowl as a key part of Dallas' number one-rated defense. He also helped the Cowboys to their first play-off game since 1999.
Each year since, Williams continued to start and excel for the Cowboys. Last year, he signed a $25.2 million contract that will see him remain a Cowboy at least through the 2010 season. He is an established All-Pro player whom most NFL receivers fear as one of the hardest hitting free safeties in the league. Quarterbacks aren't very happy to see him coming on blitzes either, as he often does for the Cowboys.
Coach Fromson added this about Williams, "Roy has come back to visit me many times since he left Logan High and to tell you the truth he is still the same guy I coached in high school, still a happy go lucky guy who will sign autographs for fans and talk to people about any subject they want to talk about. The big singing bonus he got back in 2002 when he came in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys has not changed his personality.
"Roy Williams is a good role model for younger players," Fromson declared.
If he stays healthy and continues his outstanding play do not be surprised to find Roy Williams enshrined, one day, in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.