The difference a redshirt year makes

By RayJaun Stelly, contributing writer

Jayson Williams had a huge reality shock in 2015 when the coaching staff decided it would be best for him to redshirt as a freshman to expand his skillset even further.

“For me, having teammates like Cooper Kupp, Shaq Hill and Kendrick Bourne, you can learn from these guys,” Williams said.

As a graduate from Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Williams was named AP 3A All-State first team his senior year as a wide receiver and named by the Seattle Times as a “White Chip” selection for being one of the top 100 prospects in Washington.

“Redshirting, a lot of people don’t want to do it because they’re used to being the star on the team in high school,” Williams said.

A star he was in high school, being named by the Tacoma News Tribune All-Area as a wide receiver, first team 3A All-Narrows League as a wide receiver and finishing with 66 receptions for 11 touchdowns and 1,266 yards, which was the second most in Washington.

Humbled as Williams is, he was not discouraged to sit out a year; his work ethic increased in all aspects. “Redshirting gave me time to get the college experience,” Williams said.

Now that his time is arriving, the former 3A All-State first team wide receiver and redshirt freshman’s excitement level is at an all time high. “Playing on this great red field and bonding with my team — these guys are my brothers,” Williams said.

Although most see redshirting as a bad thing and a slap in the face, this is not the case. There is no debate or doubt that Williams is a great athlete all around, but his tremendous growth on and off the field is special as well.

“He has grown a lot within the last few weeks, he’s buying into coaches and getting out of that high school shell,” said wide receivers coach Nicholas Edwards. “He has really bought in.”