Nate Williams was one of the best high school players in the state of Washington, who was a standout on both the offense and the defense. He decided to stay home and play for his hometown Huskies where he continued to excel.
He played as a true freshman and even won the “Travis Spring Most Outstanding Freshman Award” on the defensive side of the ball. He recorded 32 tackles in 2007 and that was just the beginning of this outstanding career that Williams would put together.
He continued to rack up tackles, forced fumbles, and interceptions year after year. So when the 2011 NFL draft came, it was assumed that he would hear his named called and start his NFL career. In fact, I wrote this article the day of the first round predicting he would go in the 6th round and following the draft I wrote this piece about how he was snubbed.
Husky Haul caught up with Williams and talked about where he is now, what he was thinking those three days of the NFL Draft, and his thoughts on this year’s Husky team. He even talks about something that he has never shared publicly, his decision to hang up his cleats.
Take us through the draft after you graduated. Were you expecting to hear your name called? What were your feelings during and after?
During the draft, I was expecting my name to be called sometime day three. That’s the word I was getting from my agent at the time. Day one, I obviously, was waiting for Jake’s [Locker] name to be called, I think our whole team at the time was just as excited as he was!
Then day two, I was expecting to hear Mason’s [Foster] name, and we did, and I was real happy for Mason. Especially, since me and him have been real good friends since our senior year of high school.
Towards the end of the draft, I started getting a few calls from teams saying that they were going to “try to get me, but if not they wanted me to come to their camp whenever that was going to be.” At that time there was still the lockout so they weren’t able to contact any players once the draft was over. Once it ended and I didn’t hear my name called, naturally, I was a little disappointed. However, then after talking with my dad, my agent, and Roy Lewis I began to feel a lot better about myself and my future career. Roy [Lewis] went to the Steelers as a free agent in 2008 so the advice and things that we talked about that day really made me feel better about my situation at the time. To see and get to talk to another player that had to make it in the LEAUGE the “hard” way, and be very successful, let me know that it is still possible to make it in the NFL.
How many teams contacted you about trying out for them?
After the lockout ended in July, I was only called by 5 teams and decided to go to the Baltimore Ravens.
What made you decide to retire from football? How hard of a decision was that?
Ahh now the “retirement”… and I wouldn’t even call it that. I feel like you have to be on contract during the regular season in order to retire. I came to the decision to stop playing after about 4-5 months after I was released from Baltimore.
By no means AT ALL was it an easy decision for me and honestly aside from my immediate family, and close friends this is the first time I’ve talked about it.
This was by far the toughest decision to make of my life. Football had been something I had been doing since I was 8. I started playing because the game was FUN. Football got me through high school, got me a scholarship to one of the top universities in the nation (with a degree in 4yrs), gave me the opportunity to live out one of my childhood dreams, the list can go on and on about the things football has done for me.
I’ve met some AMAZING people along the way, was able to play with one of my idols growing up and the man that I tried to be like on the field, Ed Reed. I was able to meet so many former and current NFL players, some superstars now, some already in the hall of fame. I was fortunate enough to be apart of a once in a life time event, the NFL Combine. I was able to network with business men through the 101 club at UW. I was able to travel all around the nation with my 90 other BROTHERS at UW and have had plenty of moments and memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
Football has been nothing but good to me the 15 years I have been playing and to give something like that up, was not easy one bit. I don’t regret my decision at all. I’m extremely thankful for Husky Nation and all the love and support over the 4 years I was there. I’ll forever bleed purple and gold, and will be a Husky till the day that I die! My most memorable moment in Husky stadium was our 2009 win over USC and the fans rushed the field after the game, AMAZING! One day down the road I’m sure I’ll be able to speak on this topic in depth but not now, not yet.
What are you doing now for work?
Currently I’m working at Joey’s restaurant in SouthCenter as a chef.
What career would you love to be in, if you aren’t already in it?
Being a chef is not a career thing for me, just something temporary to pay my bills and stay busy. I want to become a firefighter for my career. I’ve enrolled in EMT courses and am currently working on passing those and then taking the next step in becoming a firefighter.
Would you ever consider coaching?
I actually have thought about coaching. I feel like I’d be a good coach one day just not sure at what level.
Do you keep up with the current Husky team? What are your thoughts on the team, new defensive staff/system?
I think they’re going to do great this year. Majority of the players have experience now and I think Sean Parker is going to have a break out year. I don’t know much about the new coaching staff, I haven’t met them or anything but I was in the locker room during spring ball and all the defensive players I talked to had nothing but great things to say about their scheme, intensity, mindset, and everything. So we’ll see how this year actually goes but I’m expecting big things from Keith [Price], ASJ [Austin Seferian-Jenkins], Tru [Desmond Trufant], and SP [Sean Parker].