Williams chasing NFL dream with Ravens
by W. Brian Hale
Aug 03, 2011 | 6107 views | 0 0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Former Dora High School and University of Alabama football player Chavis Williams, right, goes through practice with the Baltimore Ravens last week. Williams signed with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent.
Former Dora High School and University of Alabama football player Chavis Williams, right, goes through practice with the Baltimore Ravens last week. Williams signed with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent.
slideshow
Chavis Williams has found plenty of reasons to smile since his he was signed by University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban in early 2007.

The former Dora Bulldog standout, who was one of Saban’s first signees in a class that was pivotal in helping capture the 2009 SEC and BCS national titles, is now looking forward to a career in the National Football League with the Baltimore Ravens — who signed Williams to a free agent contract last week.

Williams said the dream of becoming an NFL player never left his sights throughout his collegiate career in Tuscaloosa and he began to train in preparation for his shot at the pros following the 2010 season.

“I knew I had a chance to be picked up as a free agent or be drafted in the late rounds. I started working out hard as soon as my senior season was over with,” Williams said.

“With the NFL lockout situation, it was difficult at times with that long process and it tried my patience. I didn’t hear anything for a long time — all the way up until the weekend before the lockout ended. At that point, I heard some rumors that there were teams interested in me, but due to the situation, none of them could say it at the time. One evening, I received a call from the Ravens expressing interest — 30 minutes later, they called back with an itinerary. I left Birmingham the next morning and have been in Baltimore since then.”

Also adding to Williams’ anticipation is the chance to play alongside, and learn from, a strong core of Pro-Bowl defensive players, such as Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata. Williams was also happy to reunite with former Alabama teammate Terrence Cody, who Williams played with during the 2008 and 2009 seasons, and who become a mentor to him since his arrival.

“Big Cody has been showing me around and it’s been a real comfort to have him here,” Williams said. “We’ve been hard at work since practice began on Thursday and the coaching and what we’re taught is phenomenal. There’s a great tradition here with the Ravens of strong defensive teams that I’m happy to share in and be a part of.”

Williams played in 33 games during his career at Alabama, including all 13 games of the 2010 season.

When the Crimson Tide took the field against Georgia State last November, Williams was named as one of the game’s team captains, where he recorded two tackles and blocked a kick that set up an easy score for the offense in the Tide’s 63-7 win. In his reflection on his time in Tuscaloosa and the great memories he carries with him as he begins his pro career, Williams said his experience was “life defining”.

“My time at Alabama was a great, once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Williams said. “Words just can’t describe it fully. You meet friends that you’ll have for the rest of your life. I received great coaching that taught me leadership skills and to go after what I want in my future. That’s something I will always treasure.

“It helped turn me from being a boy into being a man. When you add into the experience of being named a team captain during my senior year and the honor it carried for both myself and my family, it was truly a time in my life that I will always look back upon very proudly.”

For his proud family, friends and fans across Walker County and around the state, Williams thanks them for their warm support and looks forward to carrying the traditions and lessons he learned at Alabama and at Dora with him into the NFL.

“I’ll always remember where I came from and I want everybody to know that I will work hard to continue to make them proud,” Williams said.