Fuqua's Williams Signs With Liberty University

Published 3:57 pm Thursday, February 2, 2012

FARMVILLE – From an early age, Charles Williams knew what he wanted to be when he grew up.

Wednesday morning, he took a step toward realizing his dream of playing professional football by signing a National Letter of Intent to play at Liberty University.

“Liberty is a good football program that's heading in the right direction” said Williams who after playing on the Prince Edward County High School varsity football team as a freshman played his final three years at Fuqua. “I feel Liberty will help me reach my goal. Plus, it's close to home.”

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Williams chose Liberty over James Madison, William and Mary, Virginia Military Institute, Old Dominion and a couple of lower division schools, including Hampden-Sydney and Randolph-Macon.

Williams said that he felt a closeness with Liberty that he didn't feel with some of the other programs that showed interest in the standout.

“I feel you get a lot of love from the fans at Liberty, much like I did here. At a [BCS] program like Virginia Tech, it's almost like you're just another body on the field. That may not be the case, but I can feel something special with coach [Turner] Gill and the other coaches on the Liberty staff.

“[Gill] is like coach [Skeeter] Fore in a lot of ways in that they make me feel comfortable. I feel I can be myself around them.”
<br />Williams, who was a record-setting tailback/quarterback at Fuqua, also played in the defensive backfield in a hybrid linebacker/safety position. He will head to Liberty to play as a safety, and also play on special teams.

“When the recruiter was here, Charles told him 'I want the ball in my hands, but I will do whatever it takes to help the team,'” said FS head coach Lewis “Skeeter” Fore. “That's the kind of, not only player, but person Charles is. I think it's a good fit. I'm proud of him, and I'm glad that I won't have to travel far to see him play.”

“I'm looking forward to playing safety and on special teams,” said Williams, “but in a couple of years if they want me to cross over to the other side of the ball, that will be good too.”

While National Signing Day is really more about looking forward, it's also gives athletes an opportunity to look back at the years of hard work that led up to this day.

“He's wanted to play football for a long time,” said Gloria Jenkins, Williams' mother. “I have pictures of him, from when he was around three years old, asleep with a football in his hands.”

She recalled a time in his youth when he was playing backyard football with some much bigger boys.

“Charles was skinny when he was younger” said Jenkins. When I saw him playing out there, and they were playing real football, I was so afraid that he was going to get hurt.”

He didn't get hurt. Probably because he was too fast for them, but it did give him a sixth sense that he uses on the football field.

“I can feel people,” said Williams. “You know how you can feel how close someone is when he's chasing you? That's how I play – by feel. A lot of people say that the game will slow down for them when they get a good picture of what's happening. There's some truth to that. I think I learned a lot of that while playing on that field.”

Feel and a lot of film study. Williams said that he can spend as much as three hours in a day studying the upcoming opponent.

“I want to know everything I can about our opponent. Sometimes someone will ask me how I knew where to be on a certain play, and it's because I saw what they ran in that situation when I was looking at film.”

Williams was the first Prince Edward Academy/Fuqua School football player to sign a National Letter of Intent while at the school since Cannon Watson signed with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1986.

“I can't fully state how proud we are of Charles Williams,” said Fuqua School president Ruth Murphy. “We're absolutely thrilled that he will be continuing his athletic and academic career at Liberty. He has been an asset to the school in every way, and we're happy we can just go down the road and watch him play football.”

At Fuqua, Williams is a four-year letterwinner in both football and basketball. He is a two-time Virginia Commonwealth Conference Offensive Player of the Year, a two-time all-VCC honoree at running back, defensive back and kickoff and punt return specialist. As a senior, he was named to the first-team All-VISFA squad as a running back and defensive back, and to the second team as a kickoff return specialist.

On a day that was all about Williams, he managed to remain humble as he reflected on all the mentors that helped him get to National Signing Day.

“I've taken a little bit from every coach I've had,” said Williams, who credited Fuqua assistant coach and youth league volunteer Ted Cunningham with teaching him about everything from catching an interception to fielding a ground ball, to proper weight training technique. “God has been good to me. He came in and blessed me with great coaches and great people. My mom has always been there for me. I know it was hard for her to make it to some games, but even when she couldn't I would pray and feel her presence with me. My brother, Christopher and my sister Brittany, and my father [Charles, Sr.].

“A lot of people helped me along the way, and I hope to be a good role model for those who come after me.”

Williams plans to major in Sports Marketing and minor in Church Ministries.

“I'll see which road I am to take, but I know I do want to one day give back to the community that's given so much to me.”