published Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Mike Williams headed to Division II national championship

After months of wondering where he might get a chance to play football at, former Ooltewah standout Mike Williams took matters into his own hands one evening.

It didn't take long to receive the response he'd desired.

Williams, a 2013 Dynamite Dozen member, signed scholarship papers to continue his career at Northwest Missouri State University, a NCAA Division II school in Maryville, Mo. The Bearcats went 15-0 last season and won the Division II national championship.

The 6-1, 175-pound receiver also had late interest from Carson-Newman. Due to being a late qualifier, some early interest had faded, so one night he sent out a number of his highlight films to Division II schools.

Northwest Missouri State responded that same evening by email. That weekend they flew him out to the campus, and the rest was history.

"I love the coaches there, and I'm willing to do whatever I have to do there to help the team and the coaches," Williams said. "It's a very small town, but they love football there and so do I."

Williams, who expects to redshirt, had 52 catches for 658 yards and eight touchdowns receiving during the 2013 season, helping the Owls to a 9-3 record and a spot in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs. He also had five carries for 76 yards and two more scores rushing, while intercepting three passes and blocking 10 kicks for the year.

He finished with 89 catches for 1,358 yards and 18 touchdowns receiving in his Ooltewah career. He'll make the 12-hour trip from Ooltewah to Maryville on Aug. 12 in time to get settled in and get ready for practice, which starts the next day.

"I stayed positive through the process," Williams said. "I'm glad it finally happened -- I'm surprised it happened when it did, but I'm thankful it did."

Ooltewah head coach Mac Bryan only had one season with Williams, but was extremely impressed with his work ethic.

"He's a wide receiver that works as an offensive lineman in the weight room," Bryan said. "He does so many things to get better, and he's a great story as to how he's developed. He's a tremendous young man who came into his own his senior year and became a great player.

"I've watched him work after the season ended, and he truly has a great desire to be a great player."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.

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