By Jerrell Richardson
Kyle Williams, WR #10
Hometown: San Jose, CA
College: Arizona State
Experience: 3 years
Baseball Is In His Blood
When one looks at Kyle Williams and his family, they would say that he choose the wrong profession. His father, Kenny Williams is a former player and current general manager of the Chicago White Sox, and both of his brothers play for some White Sox affiliate as they try and make their way to the majors. Growing up Kyle Williams excelled at both football and baseball and in 2006 was drafted by (big surprise) the Chicago White Sox. Instead of taking the path with the longer career and less wear and tear on your body, Williams decided to try his hand at football.
Patiently Waiting His Turn
Williams went to Arizona State where he made his name as a punt returner before cracking the team’s starting lineup as a senior. With only 48 catches through his first 3 years in college, it looked as though he would be joining his father if he had any shot at a professional career, but he remained patient and once he was given a chance to play full time, he made the his coaching staff as well as the NFL take notice. As a senior he shined, earning first-team All Pac-10 honors with 57 catches, 815 yards and eight touchdowns. He was a game changer in the return game. His breakout season was enough for the 49ers to draft him in 2010 with the 206th overall pick.
Like his path in college, Williams used his return ability to help him get on the field in the pros. Things started well enough as he proved that although he was not on the level as regular return man Ted Ginn Jr., he was a capable back up and could be counted on if needed. However, he made a name for himself in the wrong way, on the biggest stage. In last year’s NFC Championship Game, Williams was thrust into the role of punt returner and the result was disastrous. Williams fumbled twice on returns and had another fumble on a reverse. He was not even close to being the reason that the team lost the game, but that didn’t stop the criticism and multiple death threats.
Thrown Right Back in the Fire
After such a rocky introduction to the NFL, nobody would have been surprised for Williams to take his ball and go play elsewhere. At least get out of San Francisco where he would be constantly reminded of the worst day in his professional career. He took on his challenge head on proving this past preseason that he is ready should he be needed to fill the spot again. Coincidentally, Ted Ginn Jr. is once again is injured, and Williams has not only been solid as Ginn’s substitute, but Williams has played so well that the team should strongly consider giving him the kick return duties currently held by Kendall Hunter. Williams is the best thing to a home run threat the team has while Ginn is recovering.
Sky Is the Limit
Williams is not the first and will not be the last young player to have a rough day at the office, but he showed the character needed to learn from your mistakes and move on. What separates him from the ones who are unable to come back is the resiliency he has shown his entire life and his ability to earn his spot. The fact that he turned down baseball, where he would have had a spot waiting for him on the White Sox, is proof enough that he is more then willing to put in the work. Williams is a hard-working man who fits in perfectly with this 49er team as both he and the team collectively get better.
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Jerrell Richardson is a Bay Area native who due to a college career at San Diego State University has grown an appreciation for all things sports related in California. His heart will always remain in San Francisco though where he currently resides and covers everything from the San Francisco 49ers and Giants to the San Jose Sharks and California Bears Baseball team. His work can be found on Examiner.com.