Former Worth County and Kansas State star Meshak Williams secured an NFL deal this week with the Baltimore Ravens --- Williams' favorite team as a kid. His advancement to the NFL also marks just the second Sylvester native to ever reach the big leagues, following a trail already blazed by former Florida State and San Diego Chargers star Marion Butts.
BALTIMORE, Md. — It was a bit of a scratcher back in April when bruising Kansas State defensive end Meshak Williams went undrafted after many projected him to be taken in the later rounds.
And while the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens were one of the 32 NFL teams who passed Williams over, they were also the first to realize their mistake.
Williams, a former Worth County star and Albany Herald Dynamite Dozen selection, was signed as an undrafted rookie Monday by the Ravens after impressing coaches during the team’s recent rookie camp.
For Williams, making it to the NFL with his long-time favorite team the Ravens marked several dreams coming true all at once.
“I feel so fortunate right now,” Williams told The Herald by telephone Thursday evening from Maryland, where he’ll be in camp with the Ravens until June 21 after being one of just four players — out of roughly 60 who tried out — to get a call back from the Baltimore front office. “I went in with the attitude that I was going to work hard, pay attention, learn the plays and show them what I could do. I told myself before I got there, ‘I ain’t leaving until I get myself another tryout.’ And that’s what I did.”
Williams departed from Baltimore a week ago and waited patiently by the phone.
“Man, when they called me, I was so happy — first because I was realizing my dream and second because Baltimore has been my favorite team ever since I was a little kid,” he said. “You can ask anyone; I’ve been loving that team for forever. (Recently retired Ravens star LB) Ray Lewis has always been my favorite player.”
The former Wildcats defensive end and Big 12 First-Team selection will join former Kansas State teammate Arthur Brown in Baltimore after Brown was selected in the second round.
And the K-State duo have been inseparable since Williams arrived.
“We’re working together all the time, going over the playbook and just helping each other out,” Williams said. “It’s great having a friend and teammate here.”
The 6-foot-2, 247-pound Williams was second in the Big 12 last season with 8½ sacks and three forced fumbles his senior season, but he will likely be moved to outside linebacker should be make the team’s final 53-man roster. Williams knows he could be cut anytime between now and when OTAs end in late June.
Then again, he also thinks he knows how to prevent that from happening.
“I have to wake up every day wanting to work hard and show them what I can do,” Williams said. “If I do that, I won’t give them any reason not to keep me.”
He said his feedback from the Ravens has been nothing but positive.
“They said they liked the way I got to the ball, learned the plays quickly, my positive attitude and that I was a great person and they wanted me back,” said Williams, who is just the second football player from Sylvester to ever reach the NFL, following in the footsteps of former FSU and San Diego Chargers star RB Marion Butts, who retired after the 1995 season.