When Hutchinson Community College head football coach Rion Rhoades heard Ronald Williams played quarterback at Ferriday High, his interest peaked even more for the former Trojan athlete who also played defensive back and receiver.
“We were looking at playing Ronald at receiver,” Rhoades said. “I perked up when I found out he played quarterback. That means his coach trusted him enough for him to touch the ball on every snap. He had to learn a lot about the game and be aware of everything at every level on offense and defense.”
Williams did not make it to receiver. He was moved to the other side at defensive back.
“It was basically out of need for us,” Rhoades said.”And Ronald has such a high ceiling. He has worked hard for where he is now.”
The need has certainly paid off for Hutchinson Community College, which is ranked No. 1 in the National Junior College Athletic Association rankings at 4-0.
The 6-foot-2, 188-pound Williams played in 10 games last year as a freshman, collecting 12 tackles with six assists, recovering a fumble, grabbing an interception and breaking up three passes.
This year after four games, Williams has intercepted three passes, broke up three passes and collected 11 tackles.
But it’s not just Williams’ playing ability that impresses Rhoades.
“We really love Ronald as a young man,” Rhoades said. “He is so humble and works really hard. He has stuck with the plan and keeps plugging away. We are really pleased to have him here.”
Williams did not envision being at Hutchinson once he graduated from Ferriday where his senior year at quarterback he completed 125 of 276 passes for 1,868 yards and 21 touchdowns with 17 interceptions during his time at Ferriday. He rushed for 757 yards on 101 carries and nine touchdowns.
“I was supposed to go to South Alabama, but I ended up missing my (ACT) test,” Williams said.
Hutchinson associate head coach Alfred Lewis, who was born in Ferriday before moving at the age of 12, reached out to Williams.
“He told me to come up and walk on and I could get a scholarship by spring,” Williams said. “And that’s what happened.”
Williams said he enjoys playing defense.
“It’s not the same as offense, but I know I can make plays,” he said. “And it got me on the field.”
Williams said his freshman year was a year of transition.
“I had to learn to get comfortable playing cornerback,” Williams said. “This year I know how to play it. I’m faster and stronger and my technique is much better.”
And playing quarterback at Ferriday did help.
“Most of the time I know what the quarterback is going to do,” Williams said. “When I played at Ferriday I tried to look off my receiver. If I see a quarterback staring down a receiver before the snap I know where he’s going.”
Hutchinson is ranked No. 1 in NJCAA poll.
“It’s only September,” Williams said. “It will mean a lot more in December.”
Williams is set to graduate from Hutchinson in December.
Rhodes said Williams has offers from Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Houston and West Virginia and several mid-major colleges.
“I’m just weighing my options and seeing where I will fit in best,” Williams said. “It will also depend on coaching staff and teammates, which is best for me. i just need to keep making plays. I’m just going to stay humble and hungry.”