One of Boise State football’s biggest surprises of spring practices was redshirt freshman Avery Williams, who proved to be the Swiss Army knife of walk-ons.
Williams played cornerback, nickel, running back and punt returner in the spring after earning Special Teams Scout Team Player of the Year last fall. He is currently listed as a backup at strong-side linebacker, likely to be used in a nickel-type role.
Boise State coach Bryan Harsin gave the 5-foot-9, 194-pound native of Pasadena, Calif., a scholarship on Tuesday after the first day of fall camp.
“I’ve been waiting to give a scholarship to this guy, because he deserves it in every frickin’ way possible,” Harsin said. “You do the work, you get committed, you get rewarded.”
Watch the moment Harsin delivers the news below (starts about 40 seconds in):
On Wednesday, Williams said that though he had been hoping for a scholarship, but did not expect it to come Tuesday.
“I was honestly blindsided, but it was a very exciting feeling,” Williams said. “... I was very appreciative for the opportunity they gave me here.
“I’m focused on this season, obviously blessed I got this scholarship, but it’s not going to change my drive, my passion. My mentality is going to stay the same.”
Williams rushed for 1,175 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior at Junipero Serra High and will factor as a versatile option on the defensive side of the ball this season. He’s worked in fall camp at strongside linebacker and a bit at cornerback, along with special teams. He said his goals are to help the team win the field position battle and create turnovers, two areas where the Broncos struggled in 2016.
“He’s got an attitude about him and I love it,” junior linebacker Leighton Vander Esch said after the Spring Game. “ ... He makes plays every day. He doesn’t take a day off. He’s consistent.”
WALK-ONS PUT ON SCHOLARSHIP UNDER BRYAN HARSIN
2014 (4): TE Jake Hardee, LS Kevin Keane, RB Charles Bertoli, OL Mason Hampton
2015 (1): LB Leighton Vander Esch
2016 (5): OL Kellen Buhr; LS Matt Cota, WR Taylor Pope, LB Blake Whitlock, RB Ryan Wolpin
2017 (3): NT Sonatane Lui, TE Jake Knight, N Avery Williams