Jackson, Miss. - A blossoming newcomer on Northeast Mississippi Community College's football team has picked up a prestigious prize for his efforts in the Tigers' second straight win.
Sam Williams was selected as the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) Defensive Player of the Week for the fifth week of the 2017 regular season.
"Sam has come alive," said Northeast head coach Greg Davis. "His height, speed, strength and range are really important. He just has a different gear that no one else has. The bottom line is he's a guy that can get off the ball and make plays.
"I think Sam's got a bright future. He's an excellent football player and a great individual. We're really pleased with the way he's performing. We embrace him and his attitude."
Williams was sensational for the Tigers during their 27-10 victory at Coahoma Community College. He set a new career-high with 12 tackles overall, which included a game-best eight solo stops.
The Montgomery, Ala., native also had a pair of sacks for a total loss of 16 yards and forced a fumble that was recovered by Northeast lineman J.T. Loving early in the final quarter.
"I'm very proud because I've pushed myself farther than I ever have before," Williams said. "Some people say (football) is like a job, but you've gotta work to where you can enjoy it. I'm going to enjoy it to the fullest extent."
Williams made an impact on the annual battle of the MACJC's Tigers essentially from start to finish. He recorded his first tackle of the contest on Coahoma's first play of their second possession.
The 6-5, 245-pounder had eight takedowns by the halftime buzzer, including two on special teams. He went on to help Northeast hold the homestanding Tigers scoreless and to only 110 yards of offense during the second half.
Williams' biggest play following the intermission came midway through the third period when he put pressure on Coahoma's punter and eventually tackled him at the one-yard line. The visiting Tigers scored moments later to take the lead for good.
His second sack of the matchup thwarted a fourth down conversion attempt by the hosts with 12:53 remaining in the fourth quarter. Williams' forced fumble one drive later allowed Northeast to secure its third of four forced turnovers in the game.
"I gave everything that I had," said Williams. "I just think it's a blessing. I push harder every week to accomplish a new goal for every game where I can make more plays and get better."
Williams is quickly climbing up the Tigers' statistical charts. He has accumulated 34 stops, which is fifth best on the team, with 5.5 tackles for loss through five weeks of his freshman campaign.
The Lee (Ala.) High School graduate also recovered a fumble on a muffed punt during Northeast's home triumph over Southwest Mississippi Community College on September 21.
He became the first Tiger to capture MACJC Player of the Week honors since his fellow linebacker Peyton McMahon did so last season after returning a fumble for a touchdown in a win at Southwest.
Williams is now eligible for National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Player of the Week recognition, which is officially announced each Wednesday afternoon.