Indiana Daily Student

Football's Cameron Williams embracing 'new wave' mentality

<p>Freshman linebacker Cameron Williams talks to the media July 10 in Memorial Stadium. Williams is ranked as the fourth best Indiana prospect.</p>

Freshman linebacker Cameron Williams talks to the media July 10 in Memorial Stadium. Williams is ranked as the fourth best Indiana prospect.

The 2019 IU football recruiting class has been nicknamed the "new wave." It is IU’s best ever class in the rankings era.

Ever since Head Coach Tom Allen took over the program in 2016, IU has been on the verge of "breaking through." The recruiting classes have improved, and the Hoosiers inch closer to a bowl appearance each year, but this new wave of talent is looking to do more than just be on the verge of something special.

At the forefront of that attitude is freshman linebacker Cameron Williams.

Rivals ranked Williams as the fourth best Indiana prospect and the 11th best outside linebacker in the nation. 

When it came to deciding what college to choose, Williams didn't want to start with a program that was already big. He wanted to create change.

When fellow in-state four-star recruits Beau Robbins, defensive lineman from Carmel High School, and Sampson James, running back from Avon High School, announced their commitments to IU, Williams said it made the decision a little easier.

Williams played for Andrean High School in Merrillville, Indiana. Seeing fellow talented in-state recruits commit to IU influenced Williams a little more to the Bloomington scene.

During his junior and senior years combined, Williams racked up 124 tackles, 17 sacks, two interceptions with one going for a touchdown, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and seven pass breakups. He was named an Indiana Football Coaches Association All-State player for two years.

Williams also ran track in high school, which in turn helped him with endurance on the field. He said track improved his form and quick-bursts speed on the field. His fastest time for 110-meter high hurdles was a 14.12, and for the 100-meter dash was 11 seconds flat.

He advanced to the state meet in track at IU, ending one career at the same place he was going to start his other.

When he got to IU, Williams said he was surrounded by an atmosphere where everyone was pushing to be better. It was a new level of greatness to strive toward each and every time he stepped on the field or workout room.

“The workouts kinda surprised me,” Williams said. “It’s a new intensity I have to bring everyday in the workouts. Everybody is striving to be better. Everybody is striving to be the best in the Big Ten.”

He said his father played a big part of his football career. He started out as a running back, but with his 6-foot-3-inch, 215-pound frame, his father lured him to dish out the tackles rather than receive them.

Former linebacker stars Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher from the Chicago Bears were inspirations for Williams. The Bears are his favorite team, and the hard-nosed, grind-it-out style of Briggs and Urlacher gave something Williams wanted to mirror his game after.

He said he has grown close with fellow freshman linebacker D.K. Bonhomme. Bonhomme and Williams talk every day and try to improve their game together.

In addition to Bonhomme, Williams gives credit to each linebacker on the team and defensive coordinator/linebackers Coach Kane Wommack for helping him get accustomed to the team.

The summer is nearing the end as IU gets set for its 2019 campaign, starting with a noon kick-off Aug. 31 against Ball State University in Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Hoosiers don't want to be playing for a bowl game during the last game of the season against the Purdue Boilermakers in November like the last two seasons. They want a bowl game already secured before that game. They want to finally break through, and Williams said he and the rest of the 2019 recruiting class think they can be a big part in that.

“Coming in early can be a shock for quite a few freshmen around the country any time, anywhere,” Williams said. “So coming into a DI program, especially with a big name like IU, I look to change the culture around completely. My class is called the new wave for a reason.” 

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