Thick n’ thin: Williams dedicated to Cowboys

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Playing through adversity is nothing new to Kordell Williams.

He has been doing just that since he arrived at McNeese State in 2017.

The linebacker has been a pillar of strength for the Cowboys while chaos has swirled all around him.

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So an 0-3 start is nothing for Williams, who has been though so much more since joining the program.

“You just go to work each and every day and get better,” Williams said. “Those who are with us and believe will benefit. There is nothing else to do but continue to work.”

Since joining the Cowboys from Carencro High School, Williams has had to endure more than his share of hardship. From playoff probation and pandemic to a pair of hurricanes and all home games played at noon, he has continued to go about his business one day at a time.

That includes having four head coaches and four coaching staffs. That is four defensive systems Williams has had to learn.

A good portion of his friends and former teammates left the program as McNeese struggled, but Williams has stayed.

“I never really thought about leaving,” he said.

Instead, he has become the team’s best defensive player despite being 5-foot-10 and 205 pounds.

“After the first game I saw him play at Montana State, I told him I would go to war with him any time,” first-year Cowboys coach Gary Goff said. “He has been great. He is always working and always trying to get better.

“And he is really good on the field.”

Last year Williams finished with exactly 100 tackles and was named second-team all-Louisiana by the state’s sports writers. This year he was a preseason all-Southland player heading into this his senior year.

Despite the Cowboys’ slow start Williams has been even better this fall. He has 36 tackles and a forced fumble already to lead the Southland and is an early candidate for the league’s top defensive honor.

Last Saturday night he collected 15 tackles, a career high, in a 30-19 home loss to Alcorn State.

“I’m just trying to follow the keys the coaches give us,” Williams said, “following the reads and going after the ball.”

It’s the way he plays in practice as well.

“He is a beast and nobody works harder,” said receiver Mason Pierce. “He brings out the best in us.”

Williams said he learned a lot by watching Isaiah Chambers the last two seasons. Chambers was an all-American defensive end at McNeese and Williams would like to be looked at the same way.

“I would love to pick up some of those honors he got,” Williams said.

But tackles is what he really wants to collect.

Last week Goff approached him about that.

“I said, ‘I think you might get 20 tackles this week if you keep playing like the way you are,’” Goff said to Williams. “He told he that if he doesn’t mess up his reads he should get the 20. Then he goes out and actually gets 15. That’s something.”

After last week’s performance Williams has moved up to the 19th spot in the Cowboys’ career tackles list with 256, including 25 for loss.

What Williams says he’s excited about is the latest defensive effort.

“We have a scheme and I see us getting better,” Williams said. “We just have to stick together and keep working.”