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Where Are They Now: Cornelius Williams

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Most of our “Where are they now?” pieces usually tell a story about an ex-NC State basketball player trying to make it in the NBA, or pursuing a career in the sport overseas. The story of Cornelius Williams is a bit different.

Williams was never a super-star. He was never looking to make basketball a career. Instead he used basketball to get an education that would propel him to a much more important place.

Cornelius Williams joined NC State in 1997 under then coach Herb Sendek. Hailing from Fort McClellan, Alabama, the 6’11 center was part of Sendek’s second recruiting class. He was not a sought after prospect and was more of a project player. In four years Williams never averaged more than 2 points per game and averaged 8.3 minutes per game in his career. But that isn’t what makes this story interesting.

While Williams never found extreme success on the basketball court, he was busy finding that success in the classroom. We caught up with Cornelius to find out how that worked out what he’s up to now…

“Basically right now I’m a chemist. I work for Johnson and Johnson and I’ve been doing that for the last six years and have been working in the pharmesutical industry for the last 12 years now and it’s something I really enjoy.” said Williams. “After college I pretty much gave up basketball. It was fun while it lasted but I had a lot of other things I wanted to do. I dabbled for a little bit and that was good enough.”

Williams doesn’t come around NC State much these days. He’s a busy man, so attending games can be tough but he always has, and always will make time for his teammates.

“My time at NC State was great. It was a great experience. I learned a lot and made some close friends. As far as basketball goes, sometimes it’s just time to move on, but I still love NC State and especially my teammates.”

It certainly shows as Williams, who hasn’t been seen at many Wolfpack functions over the past 10 years, has been in attendance at the Brian Keeter Hope to Walk golf outing on both occasions..

“Like I said my Wolfpack teammates were and are important to me. I think it’s great that they put on this event for Brian’s foundation. Putting things like this on for him are needed. I’ve been around him a lot since his accident and these type of things, they boost his confidence and moral.” said Williams.

In today’s world, sport has become a business, where kids strive to use basketball to make a career for themselves or to find stardom. While there’s nothing wrong with that, every once in a while you find a player like Cornelius Williams. He used basketball as a learning experience, an outlet from school and for the bonds created between him and his teammates.

“Playing college basketball was a great experience, but I’ve got a family, my friends and a career and I’m very happy where I’m at, doing what I’m doing.”

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Pack in the Pros

Former NC State C Andrew Knizer Gets 1st MLB Hit

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Former NC State Catcher Andrew Knizer has been called up for the 2nd time this season, and on Wednesday he landed his first career Major League hit.

Knizer’s first hit was a double to centerfield. The hit came in his 4th game for the Cardinals. Up to that moment, Knizer was 0-10 through his first three games.

He boasts a .304 career batting average in the Minor Leagues through 295 games.

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Pack in the Pros

Wilson & Rivers Rank in Top-25 of CBS’ Top-100 NFL Players Heading into 2019

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CBSSports released their Top-100 NFL players heading into the 2019 season, and former NC State Quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Philip Rivers both ranked in the Top-25.

8. Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks

A year after leading the league with 34 touchdown passes, Wilson threw one more TD toss (35) despite throwing 126 fewer passes than the year before. He remains a miracle worker under pressure, he’s one of the best downfield throwers in the league, and he is always, always, always a threat to take off and run with the football. With the Seahawks rebooting their roster after paying Wilson more than any other quarterback has ever been paid, it’ll be fascinating to see how his game develops. 

23. Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers

Rivers is coming off arguably the best season of his career at age 37. It’s tempting to say a drop-off is coming soon, but look around the league: a lot of older quarterbacks are still finding great success. He’s losing one of his top targets in Tyrell Williams, but gaining one in Hunter Henry. He should still be quite good. 

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Bradley Chubb Getting Pro Bowl Buzz Heading into 2nd Season

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Former NC State All-American Defensive End Bradley Chubb (now a Linebacker for the Denver Broncos) had a huge rookie season, and is now has Pro Bowl buzz surrounding him heading into his second year.

Chubb had 12 sacks in year 1, which broke Von Miller’s Bronco Rookie record, and 7th most ever by an NFL Rookie.

Marc Sessler predicted a player on each NFL team that could make their first Pro Bowl this year, and Chubb was his selection from the Broncos.

DENVER BRONCOS: Bradley Chubb, edge, second NFL season: Chubb lived up to his billing as a havoc-wreaking quarterback night-terror unleashed in unison with Denver’s Von Miller. His 12 sacks as a rookie included a midseason tear of 7.5 takedowns over a five-game stretch. Chubb and Miller remain the heart of this Broncos squad, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see both earn Pro Bowl honors this time around. “Spoiler alert … Both these guys have 20 sacks; it’s never been done before,” Peter Schrager of “Good Morning Football” predicted in May. “Two 20-sack guys, 40 sacks total.” Dream big!

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Bucky Brooks ranked Chubb and Von Miller as the best pass rushing tandem in the NFL heading into the 2019 season.

1) Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, Denver Broncos: The thought of new head coach Vic Fangio creating pass-rush schemes for Miller and Chubb should lead to plenty of sleepless nights for offensive coordinators around the league. The wily defensive architect not only inherits a pair of pass rushers who have proven they can produce big numbers together (they combined for 26.5 sacks in 2018), but he gets to build his 3-4 defense with two elite edge rushers who have complementary games. Miller is the dynamic speed rusher with cat-like quickness and a dizzying array of rush moves that leave offensive tackles tied in knots. Chubb is a disruptive power rusher with heavy hands and a non-stop motor. He overwhelms blockers with his brute strength but also displays enough finesse to win consistently on the edges.

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Jaylen Samuels’ Rookie Season Highlight Reel

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Former NC State Swiss Army Knife Jaylen Samuels is about to head into his second season in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Last year he rushed for 256 yards on 56 carries, and snagged 26 receptions for 199 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Here’s his Rookie Highlight Reel:

It will be interesting to see what Jay Sam’s role looks like in year two with former NC State Tight Ends Coach Eddie Faulkner stepping into the role as the Steelers Running Backs Coach.

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