GRANITEVILLE — For Midland Valley defensive back Tevin Williams, Monday’s signing to play football at Newberry College was the culmination of the work he’s put in toward his lifelong goal.
“This is what I was dreaming about since I was little,” he said.
Williams, who racked up more than 40 tackles and hauled in two interceptions as a senior despite missing time due to injury, chose Newberry over Gardner-Webb. He also got interest from Clemson but said Newberry was the right choice because of the feeling he got while on campus.
“I felt the most comfortable there while I was taking my visit,” adding that he also felt more “at home” in Newberry.
Contributing to that atmosphere is the fact that Williams’ cousin, former Strom Thurmond quarterback Raleigh Yeldell, is already a member of the Wolves’ football team. Yeldell redshirted his freshman year, something Williams said he’ll likely do as well.
The extra practice time will help with what Williams anticipates will be the toughest transition to college football.
“Learning how they work their defenses ... and doing what I can do to help the team to win more ball games,” he said of a Wolves program that went 5-6 in 2012.
That attitude of wanting to help his team win is something Mustang head football coach Rick Knight said was the main attribute Williams brought to the Midland Valley team.
“You know that, day one, he’s going to be there every single day,” Knight said. “He’s very coachable; he’s got great character.”
Williams’ hard-working nature was put to the test with early-season injury concerns, but Knight said Williams overcame that obstacle. He returned to the field and was a leader for a Mustang squad that won four of its last six regular-season games to clinch an unlikely playoff berth after starting the season 0-4.
“He battled back, and he’s just a great leader for us,” Knight said.
Williams said that right now, his academic strengths lie in the sciences, so he plans on majoring in computer science at Newberry.
On the field, he’ll shift from his role as a cornerback and linebacker for the Mustangs to safety for the Wolves.
Regardless of what position Williams is expected to fill, Knight is confident that he’ll do what’s necessary to help the team during and after a potential redshirt year.
“He’s going to do exactly what the coaches what him to do,” Knight said. “He’s going to give them 100 percent every single time he’s out there.”
Jeremy Timmerman has a journalism degree from Mercer University and has been at the Aiken Standard since June 2010.