JACKSONVILLE – Alabama junior Jonah Williams will be one of the best offensive tackles in the nation this fall, and already is being mentioned as a potential first-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft.
So why didn’t Williams spend his spring break like so many of his Alabama classmates? Instead of working on his tan at the beach, Williams was working out at Boost Sports Performance.
“Ever since the national championship game, I’ve been in the weight room, been on the field grinding, and I don’t want to let that dissipate,” Williams told me. “I didn’t want to take the week off, so it’s good to come in here and keep the work up.”
Boost is no stranger to helping train Alabama football players. Heisman winner Derrick Henry, former wide receiver Chris Black and current Alabama quarterback Mac Jones also have received instruction at the facility.
Like Henry, Williams was a five-star prospect as a high school recruit. From Folsom, Calif., Wilson was a freshman All-American in 2016, then was named a first-team All-SEC pick and earned some All-American honors in 2017.
Williams’ work ethic and dedication were apparent the minute he stepped foot in the facility. While in town, Williams – whose parents now live in Jacksonville – focused on improving his core strength, hip mobility, explosive movements and balance.
I asked him what it was like playing at Alabama.
“It’s a lot of pressure; it’s high expectations,” Williams said. “You’re expected to win every game, but I think a lot of us embrace that. That’s kind of why we’re there – to grind toward continued success.”
Spring football for the defending national champs began Tuesday. What goals has Williams set as another season begins?
“Just no complacency,” Williams said. “You can always improve yourself, and we, as a team, can always improve. I think we can always work on our execution and how well we work together as a team.”
Williams has been dominant since stepping foot on campus, but he was forced out of the national championship game with an ankle injury. He said his ankle “feels good. I’ve been getting a lot of treatment on it the past three months or so. I’m really looking forward to spring ball and trying it out.”
When Williams went down in the title game, true freshman Alex Leatherwood – another former five-star prospect – came on and the Tide line didn’t falter.
“That’s one thing we really pride ourselves in – our camaraderie. And we always have a ‘next guy up’ (mentality),” Williams said. “I think that’s one of our mantras – sticking together as a unit. We want to be the best we can be and come through for each other.”
(James Coleman played fullback at Florida State from 2002-05; you can follow him on Twitter @biggamejames36)
© 2016, gridironnow.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.